Tech-savvy thieves use specialist equipment in spate of car thefts

A blue Ford Fiesta was stolen from Threxton Road, in Watton, using a remote device to gain access. 

A blue Ford Fiesta was stolen from Threxton Road, in Watton, using a remote device to gain access. - Credit: Norfolk Police

Tech-savvy thieves are using specialist equipment to trick electronic keys into opening car doors.

Four cars have been stolen in a spate of incidents in the Breckland area, where it is believed thieves have gained access using a remote device.

Between February 3 and March 6, a grey Ford Focus with vehicle registration FJ67 VMY was stolen from Neaton Business Park in Watton. 

A grey Ford Focus with vehicle registration FJ67 VMY was stolen from Neaton Business Park in Watton. 

A grey Ford Focus with vehicle registration FJ67 VMY was stolen from Neaton Business Park in Watton.  - Credit: Norfolk Police

On February 11, between 1.50pm and 2pm, three men in a silver/grey Transit van stole a blue Ford Fiesta from Merton Road, Watton, with vehicle registration AW15 HJX. 

On Thursday March 18 at around 1.30pm a blue Ford Fiesta was stolen from Threxton Road, in Watton, using a remote device to gain access. The vehicle registration is V015 FDE. 

A blue Ford Fiesta was stolen from Threxton Road, in Watton, using a remote device to gain access. 

A blue Ford Fiesta was stolen from Threxton Road, in Watton, using a remote device to gain access.  - Credit: Norfolk Police

In a fourth similar incident, between 9pm on Saturday March 20 and 6.30am on Sunday 21, a grey Mini Clubman with vehicle registration E066 WLW was stolen from Orchard Close in Attleborough. 

A grey Mini Clubman with vehicle registration E066 WLW was stolen from Orchard Close in Attleborough. 

A grey Mini Clubman with vehicle registration E066 WLW was stolen from Orchard Close in Attleborough.  - Credit: Norfolk Police

PC Austin Clarke, beat manager at Breckland, said: "We are urging car owners to be vigilant as we believe these vehicles were stolen using a remote device and may be linked."

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Following a rise across the region in thieves using more sophisticated techniques to gain access to keyless entry/start button cars, police have issued advice to help keep vehicles secure.

A spokesman said: “When the correct key fob is close by, the fob recognises the signal and transmits its own code, instructing the vehicle to unlock the doors and to allow the ignition to work on the car. 

“Thieves use wireless transmitters to capture its radio transmission. This is relayed to another device.  It allows the thief to open and start your car in the same way. 

“To prevent this from happening, use car key signal blocker cases/sleeves, they cost less than £10, or an aluminium tin at home.   

“Find a safe place for your keys at home and check to ensure they are out of range." 

Other advice includes:

  • Use a good quality crook lock or full cover steering wheel security lock to immobilise your vehicle 
  • Consider fitting an ‘OBD safe’ device, a secure lockable device that fits over the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic port, in the vehicle cabin. This prevents criminals using software to code an electronic key for the vehicle  

Anyone with information can contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting the relevant crime number and officer or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.orgAdvice 

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