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Stealers’ wheels

3 months ago

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Andrew English | Journalist


16 January 2024

It’s a bit early to say precisely how much UK car theft rose last year, but you can bet your shirt it will have been significantly up on 2022’s grisly total of over 100,000 vehicles. According to insurance company LV in the autumn, 2023 was shaping up to be the worst year on record, with initial estimates of thefts up 59 per cent, probably more when the figures are finally totted. Keyless entry systems were blamed, along with criminal gangs exploiting the loop holes in that technology.

Unsurprisingly the worst place in 2022, according to a freedom of information request on behalf of Fleet News magazine, was London. In the capital 26,117 vehicles were stolen at a rate of 290.77 per 100,000 people. Next was the West Midlands with 12,223 (417.45 per 100,000; the highest by population anywhere in the country), then Greater Manchester with 7453 (264 per 100,000). West Yorkshire followed with 4621 thefts, Essex with 3771 and South Yorkshire with 3257.

Establishing which cars were stolen most depends on how you measure them, but according to Octane Finance, the humble Ford Fiesta topped the charts. The UK’s second most stolen car was the Range Rover followed by the Ford Focus, the VW Golf, and the Land Rover Discovery. Land Rover claims that according to Police National Computer Data, the Range Rover nameplate, including Range Rover, Sport, Velar and Evoque, actually sits in third place. But as a proportion of the numbers on our roads, the Range Rover sits right at the top of the table. Lexus isn’t far behind.

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