Coronavirus: Gangs steal cars to fill gap in parts supply chain

Published 03 April 2020

Drivers are being urged to secure their cars to prevent them being stolen by opportunistic criminals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The closure of car factories and dealers is encouraging a thriving black market for second-hand car parts via websites like Gumtree, eBay and Facebook Marketplace.

Gangs are targeting vehicles which can be easily broken for parts by dedicated 'chop shops', says vehicle tracking firm, Tracker.

Professional car thieves will usually steal a car and abandon it for several days to check it's not being tracked, before taking it to a garage where its identity is changed and high-value parts are stripped for resale.

With the general public being urged to stay indoors and not use their cars apart from weekly shopping trips, some drivers may not notice their car's gone missing for several days.

Modern premium vehicles are most frequently stolen for their parts, but no car is immune, says Tracker. The company recently recovered a Volkswagen Polo valued at less than £600.

“With movement so restricted, most of us are using our cars far less frequently, so it is easy to get out of the habit of checking doors are locked and keys are secured after those rare essential journeys," said Tracker's head of police liaison, Clive Wain.

"92 per cent of the vehicles we recovered last year were stolen without the thief having possession of the vehicle’s keys. As such, we advise owners of all vehicles to take extra care to fully secure their vehicle and keep remote locking keys as far away from the car as possible, and in a closed tin so that they are protected against relay-attacks.”

Comments

hissingsid    on 3 April 2020

The best anti theft protection for a car, especially one which is used infrequently, is a secure locked garage. Unfortunately many people fill their garages with bikes, freezers, lawnmowers, in fact everything except the car.

conman    on 4 April 2020

The best way of not getting your car stolen, is very clear don't buy one if it is fitted with key less entry, As soon as customers stop buying them the sooner the manufacturers will stop fitting them or at least give you the option. After knowing a couple of friends that have had their cars stolen in this way there is no way on this earth I would buy one. Don't forget your insurance will rise due the claim you will be making. Why spend £1,000's on a car then have to fit your own security, ridiculous. When are these manufacturers going to listen. If they think their cars are secure they should now come with free theft insurance provided by the manufacturer If they have no confidence in the security why should you.

Edited by conman on 04/04/2020 at 12:37

craig2210    on 9 April 2020

That my friend was beautifully said.....

Keyless entry is pathetic

lotsirb704    on 6 April 2020

That Polo must have been a prototype then with keyless entry :-)

   on 6 April 2020

Both my and my wife’s Discovery Sports live on a drive 3 feet from our front door. Never-the-less, I have turned off the remote entry on both. Having to press the button on a key is a small inconvenience against having either stolen. It’s a feature which no one actually asked for and I doubt that many were asked whether they’d want it on a new car.

gentle giant    on 6 April 2020

If you are lucky enough to have a garage, most modern cars will not fit if you want to open a door. The last car I could park in the garage and exit was an old hillman an avenger estate.
I just park on the drive and double lock the doors ( deadlocked) I also park with the driven wheels nearest the house and leave it in a high gear so they can’t lift and tow it easily.

VINCENT MILLARD    on 7 April 2020

If you are lucky enough to have a garage, most modern cars will not fit if you want to open a door. The last car I could park in the garage and exit was an old hillman an avenger estate.
I just park on the drive and double lock the doors ( deadlocked) I also park with the driven wheels nearest the house and leave it in a high gear so they can’t lift and tow it easily.

Excellent Points, I can confirm the last Car I could get into our Garage was a 40 Year old 2 seater sports car, that I sadly couldn't get in and out of easily so my Modern 5 seater GT won't go in even with the Mirrors folded in. I'm glad to say No Keyless entry and a tracker fitted, so it'looks like the best thing is, fit a tracker and park where you can see it, so even if it is nicked you can have it tracked quickly and maybe the Old Bill can watch it to see if the Crims come back to it! But make sure You know where it is!

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