Key theft gang jailed

A gang of 11 burglars and stolen car handlers operating around Nottingham have been sentenced to 24 years imprisonment for their roles in what police say was the largest car key burglary operation in Britain.

This type of vehicle theft has been out of the news recently with the BMW on-board diagnostics (OBD) theft scare grabbing headlines, but cases like this show that stealing cars by first nicking the keys is still the most common method in Britain.

A survey by insurer LV in October found that that the owners' keys are used in two thirds of the 150,000 cars stolen each year.

Stolen keys used in majority of car thefts
Stolen keys used in majority of car thefts
Police say the gang, operating in the Kimberley and Eastwood area just north of Nottingham, were breaking into houses to steal keys to pinch cars and either using them in subsequent crimes or shipping them overseas.

Police estimate they stole around 60 cars over a 12 month period worth approximately £1 million. As you would expect, prestige brands were targeted mostly. The bulk of those taken were SUVs including Range Rovers, BMW X5s and Audi Q7s.

The cars for export were mainly being shipped to Africa, the investigation headed by East Midlands Special Operations Unit discovered. They passed on information on the stolen cars to the South African Police Vehicle Identification Service to be on the lookout when they arrived into Port Elizabeth. The operation found that the cars were taken over a 12-month period beginning in October 2010.

The same survey by LV discovered that only one in 50 cars is now being stolen in the traditional manner by hotwiring.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (49) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Amirhussain 28 Nov 2012


  • Amirhussain 28 Nov 2012

    If they can deal with the chavs from Aberdeen it would be even nicer

  • Lee_sec 28 Nov 2012


    Now what about the higher number of remote entry / start Fords being taken??...

  • billzeebub 28 Nov 2012

    Not long enough

  • Twoshoe 28 Nov 2012

    I don't know why more manufacturers don't have a keypad in addition to the ignition key, like Citroen Xantias do/did. Therefore you cannot start the car without having both the key and the PIN.

    Say what you like about Xantias, but they were bloomin' hard to nick!

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