Vehicle thefts up 25% as criminals use ‘variety of hi-tech methods’

Vehicle thefts rose by a quarter in England and Wales last year, figures show.

Some 130,389 incidents of vehicles being stolen were recorded in 2022, according to AA Insurance Services analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics.

This is up 25% from the total of 104,435 during the previous 12 months.

AA Insurance Services said thieves are using a “variety of hi-tech methods” to steal vehicles.

These include relay thefts, which involves cars being tricked into opening, and key cloning.

Criminals are also using “advanced practices” to overcome enhanced vehicle security systems, the company added.

There were 212,900 reports of thefts from vehicles in 2022, up 10% from 193,647 a year earlier.

Motorists are being advised to consider using steering wheel locks and not to store valuables in vehicles.

AA Insurance Services managing director Gus Park said: “These figures are in danger of getting out of control.

“If left to spiral further there will be big cost implications in terms of the impact to wider society, let alone the price policy holders pay.

“We urge police chiefs and crime commissioners across the country to create an action plan to crack the case.

“Unfortunately, there is no one thing that can guarantee keeping your car safe from theft, but just making it a bit harder for the thieves can make it less likely that they’ll go for your car.”