Figures just out show a one-third increase in the number of cars pinched in England and Wales over the last three years. Here are the thieves’ favourites
Theft-proofing technology for cars has been ramped up somewhat since the days when all you needed to get yourself a new motor was a bit of bent wire and a cheeky attitude.
Unfortunately, the thieves have become a lot smarter too. The result over the last three years has been a 30 per cent rise in car crime in England and Wales, according to RAC Insurance.
The best place for car theft if you’re a thief is, perhaps unsurprisingly, London. Nearly 26,500 cars were stolen in the capital in 2016, which is equivalent to one every 20 minutes. But West Yorkshire is the real hotbed for car theft at the moment, with a 57 per cent rise between 2013 and 2016.
What can you do, short of moving somewhere safer? Well, you can make a point of not leaving your car keys in the entrance hall of your house because most at-home car thefts are not car break-ins but house break-ins. It’s easier to get into a house than a car, and then simply use the car’s keys to drive it away.
The other thing you might consider is not owning one of the ten most popular car theft targets. Here’s the list. Hopefully your car isn’t on it.
10. BMW 5 Series
Just a great car, so why wouldn’t they want to steal it? Especially now that there’s a new and even nicer one out.
9. Land Rover Defender
Used Defender values have rocketed since Land Rover stopped building them, and many of them are pretty easy to steal thanks to fairly basic security.
8. Range Rover Vogue
Rather posher than the Defender, but not much harder to steal: some London-based owners have been finding it near-impossible to get insurance.
7. Range Rover Autobiography
If you’re going to nick a Range Rover, might as well make it a luxurious one, and the flagship Autobiography model is certainly with its sliding panoramic sunroof and massaging front seats.
6. BMW 3 Series
Maybe it’s not such an obvious executive saloon choice as it used to be but car thieves don’t steal cars according to their road test ratings: they just like the combo of good looks and handling.
5. Mercedes E-Class
The elegant, well equipped and easy-driving E-Class could be the best mainstream Mercedes on sale in 2017. Just the ticket for the aspirational tealeaf.
4. Mercedes C-Class
Or you could start off small in your Mercedes-stealing career with a C-Class, the most popularly stolen saloon in Britain.
3. BMW M3
For the thief who knows his (or her, mustn’t be sexist) Threes, this 425bhp twin-turbo is the bees knees, hustling you away from the authorities at speed: 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds.
2. Range Rover Sport
The fourth Land Rover product in this list, which is both a compliment to the cars and a criticism of their poor security. The Range Rover Sport is comfy, refined and desirable.
1. BMW X5
For six years on the trot, the X5 SUV was the most stolen car in the UK. It fell to second place in 2015 but triumphantly returned to the top last year. Oh dear.