Land Rover tops list of Britain’s most stolen cars

DVLA data suggests one in 100 Land Rovers was stolen in 12-month period

Land Rover, which makes the Range Rover Velar, above, was found to be Britain's most stolen brand of vehicle. Alamy
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A 25 per cent increase in car thefts in the UK has been recorded, with Land Rover found to be the country's most stolen vehicle brand.

Statistics from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) suggested about one in every 100 Land Rovers in circulation was stolen in the year ending March 2023.

Data indicated Land Rovers were three times more likely to be stolen than the second most popular target for thieves, the Mercedes-Benz.

The data, acquired by through Freedom of Information requests, paints a worrying picture of the country's car theft landscape.

Among the 896,948 licensed Land Rovers in the UK, 8,284 were reported as stolen during the period, equating to 924 thefts for every 100,000.

Six of the top 10 most stolen models are made by Land Rover, with the Range Rover Velar R-Dyn found to be the most targeted.

Mercedes-Benz followed Land Rover, with a theft rate of 323 per 100,000 cars. Ford and BMW were next on the list.

The data also suggested a colour preference among thieves, with black cars stolen more frequently.

Last year alone, 18,000 black cars were taken.

The surge in car theft is corroborated by analysis from AA Insurance, which indicates a 25 per cent last year.

According to the firm's crime data, 130,389 cars were stolen in 2022, up from 104,435 in 2021.

Ford Fiesta theft rose by 53%

Ford Fiesta thefts increased by 53 per cent in 2022.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) figures show that 5,979 Fiestas were reported stolen last year compared to 3,909 in 2021.

However, the rise in thefts of Ford Fiestas might be related to the announcement by Ford last year that they will cease production of this model.

Security experts warned that the end of Fiesta production might put owners at risk, as the cost of Fiesta parts could rise.

Keyless car thefts

The insurance provider warned about the increased sophistication of thieves, who are now using high-tech methods such as key cloning or relay theft to circumvent advanced vehicle security systems.

In this scheme, thieves use transmitters to capture the unique signal from car keys and redirect it to another transmitter that is then aimed at the car.

These transmitters have evolved to such an extent that they can clone a key’s signal from outside of the house.

Not only did car thefts rise last year but the number of possessions stolen from cars also grew.

In 2022, thieves made off with 212,900 items, an increase from 193,647 in 2021.

Impact on society and insurance

Gus Park, the managing director for AA Insurance Services, said car theft could “spiral out of control” and significantly affect insurance premiums.

Rising theft rates could lead to increased insurance costs as insurers would need to cover the higher risk of theft.

As a precaution, AA Insurance has advised drivers not to leave valuables in their cars and use visible deterrents such as a steering wheel lock. These steps could dissuade would-be thieves and lower the chances of a car being taken.

The surge in car thefts has spurred calls for an action plan from industry professionals and law enforcement agencies.

Given the vulnerability of certain models, such as the Ford Fiesta, to theft, there are specific warnings for owners.

Tracker, a British firm that provides tracking devices to locate stolen vehicles, has warned Fiesta owners to be "on their guard".

Updated: May 23, 2023, 3:17 PM