Vehicle thefts up by a third

Vehicle thefts in the UK have risen by nearly a third to 115,822 since 2020.

An investigation by AX Track has also revealed that thefts rose by 23.9% between 2021 and 2022.

London and the West Midlands experienced the highest number of vehicle thefts in the UK, with 32,766 and 12,429 incidents respectively in 2022, while other regions such as Hampshire, Devon & Cornwall, Kent, Humberside, West Midlands, Northumbria and Staffordshire saw increases of over 50% between 2020 and 2022.

Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at AX Track, said: “The technology-driven tactics of today’s sophisticated criminals are a far cry from the opportunist teenagers of the past who would steal cars for fun. Our study shows a huge rebound since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it many cases we are seeing thefts surge ahead of the pre-pandemic figures from 2019. It’s a worrying trend, but not entirely unexpected given the increasingly sophisticated techniques that criminals are deploying.

“Equipment costing thousands of pounds can be purchased online, enabling criminals and their associates to steal cars by either cloning or mimicking the original key. Keyless theft can take several forms and it’s prevalent enough that criminals are stealing cars to order, identifying the right car while organising false numberplates before the theft even takes place.”