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1st Aug, 2021

Warning to 'keyless' car drivers after increase in number of vehicle thefts across West Mercia

DRIVERS of ‘keyless’ cars have been warned to be on their guard after an increase in thefts of the vehicles across West Mercia.

Police say, while the fobs allowed for a more convenient ‘keyless entry’, the signal read by the car when the button is pressed can also be captured by criminals using a cheap and readily available ‘relay device’.

And the force has now issued advice to help drivers of keyless cars prevent themselves from becoming victims of crime.

Det Sgt Paul Smeilus, from the force’s organised crime and burglary team, said: “One of the simplest ways to protect your keys is to invest in something known as a ‘Faraday Pouch’.

“This is a small pouch for your keys which is lined with metal foil which the radio waves cannot penetrate.”

He added motorists could also add a device, such as an immobiliser, steering wheel lock or wheel clamp. As well as stopping thieves from driving off in the cars, the latter two provide a very visible deterrent.

Officers arrested two men last week after the theft of a Ford Focus ST and seized a number of key-reading devices and blank keys.

People should ensure their cars are properly locked and fobs are kept away from doors and windows so the signal is no longer in range.

Fobs should be kept in a metal – or foil lined box – which can also stop the signal from being captured or drivers can turn off the signal until they need to use the cars.

The owner’s manual should detail whether that feature is available.

Regular checks should be made for software updates for the car.

And DS Smeilus said much of the police’s intelligence about criminality came from the public.

Incidents of people acting suspiciously in areas should report it by calling 101.

Click here for more crime prevention advice from the West Mercia Police website.

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