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Range Rovers top theft table again

The celebrities favourite 4x4 has again topped the table as a thieves’ target. Range Rovers and Land Rovers worth £2.6m were recovered in the first half of the year, according to new figures.

The 4x4 brand beloved by farmers and fashionistas is continuing to be hot property for thieves across the country.

Despite lockdown restrictions, Range Rover and Land Rover models have been the most stolen vehicle in the UK particularly those with keyless entry as features.

Tracker recovered over £4.2m-worth of stolen vehicles in total during January to June, of which 4x4s accounted for £2.6m. 

The highest value car stolen and recovered during this period was a Range Rover Sport worth £94,000 in May, with Range Rover and Land Rover models accounting for 29% of the total stolen vehicles recovered by Tracker in the six months.

Former police officer and Tracker spokesman Clive Wain said: “Our latest figures show that – just like in 2020 – as prolonged periods of lockdown eased, theft of vehicles increased. May was a particularly busy month for criminals who made up for lost time.  

The total value of vehicles we recovered in May was almost three times higher than in January, with an average vehicle value of more than £31,000, compared to just £13,000 in the first month of the year.”   

The brand is sought-after by everyone from rural farmer to celebrities and values range from around £8,000 to £200,000.

The Defender model, created as a farm vehicle, has now gone out of production limiting supply. Last of the line models are now worth £50,000 and owners such as Gordon Ramsey – who bought one featured in a James Bond movie – have added to their cache.

And the classic Range Rover – in production from the 1970s to 1990s - is also now seen as a rising investment by classic car experts. making it a lucrative target.

Modern models are now a premium lifestyle vehicle linked to Royalty and footballers.

The combination of their size and their location often in rural areas, plus security vulnerability has made them an ideal target for organised crime gangs.

Stolen vehicles are cloned and sold on to unsuspecting buyers, exported to Eastern Europe or Africa, used by other criminals or stripped for parts which are then sold on the web.

The two methods of theft are house break-ins to get the vehicle keys or by using sophisticated scanners on modern vehicles to mimic keyless entry.

Tracker’s latest data reports that 92% of the stolen cars it recovered January to June were taken by tech-savvy thieves compromising the signal from the vehicle’s key fob.

Forces across the country have lobbied manufacturers to improve security and consider recalls to upgrade old models in a bid to beat the crooks.

But car crime officers are fighting back by partnering with firms like tracker to recover vehicles and tackle the gangs.

Essex Police has scored some major successes – finding one Range Rover just 11 minutes after it was stolen.

In May, the force raided a yard used by a gang who were stripping stolen 4x4s stolen from London, Kent, Essex and Hertfordshire.

To combat the soaring theft rate, insurance firms have asked buyers to place their keys in Faraday pouches which deflect scanning devices. 

And forces are urging owners to fit an after-market approved immobiliser and tracker, plus Thatcham-approved steering locks as part of their advice.

North Yorkshire Police said: “Security systems like pedal locks can make a real difference.”

Clive Wain backed the advice: “Now that almost all restrictions have formally lifted, all car owners need to be aware of the risk and take steps to protect their vehicles, beyond relying on a factory-fitted alarm.  Visible physical deterrents that help dissuade many would-be criminals include alarm systems, wheel clamps and steering locks. 

“Those with keyless entry vehicles also need to safeguard their key fob, for example, keeping them inside a metal container that blocks the key’s signal so it cannot be extended to remotely unlock and start the vehicle.”

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