Detectives are urging owners of cars with keyless entry systems in Merseyside to be vigilant following a number of thefts of vehicles.
Offenders have found a way to clone wireless key signals from car keys inside homes, enabling them to open the vehicle on the driveway, start the engine and drive the vehicle away. This means the criminal is able to avoid having to break into homes to steal key fobs.
Since the beginning of December, there have been a number cases of cars with keyless entry systems being stolen in Norris Green, Walton and West Derby as well as elsewhere in Merseyside. Many of the incidents have occurred overnight between 1-6am, as well as between 4-8pm, and have involved vehicles including Ford, BMW, Mini and Volkswagen.
In many cases police have recovered he vehicles and returned them to their owners.
Detective Inspector Tony O’Brien said: “We are doing all we can to tackle the issue of car thefts, and have seized many of those vehicles stolen. We have also seen significant year-on-year decreases in vehicle crime and burglary in Merseyside.
“But there are simple, inexpensive steps owners of keyless entry cars can take to minimise the chances of their cars being stolen in this way.
“While keeping your keyless entry fobs out of sight or hidden is recommended, it does not necessarily stop it from being cloned.
“We are asking car owners to consider investing in a Faraday Bag/signal blocking case for their keys. They block the signal from the fob, are relatively inexpensive – costing as little as around £5 – and are widely available online.
“It is important however to research the product you are buying and once purchased check that they effectively block the signal by trying to open your car while the key is in the bag or case.
“Additional physical security devices, such as mechanical steering locks, driveway posts, wheel clamps and trackers are also effective in protecting vehicles from thieves. If you have a vehicle that is not keyless, it would be advisable to park this in front of the keyless vehicle.”
Other tips for keyless car owners include:
• Contact your dealer and check if your vehicle has any outstanding software updates, which may improve security
• Check if the keyless fob can be turned off/on, your dealer can confirm and advise how to do this
• Be vigilant, and report any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood to the police
Anyone with information about vehicle crime is urged to DM @MerPolCC or message
‘Merseyside Police CC’ on Facebook. Alternatively, call Merseyside Police on 101, visit https://www.merseyside.police.uk/contact-us/report-crime-online/report-a-crime-form/ and report the details there or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information-online/