The Ford Fiesta may be Britain's favourite car to buy, but it's also Britain's most targeted car when it comes to theft as well according to new research from Rivervale Leasing.

Of the 56,288 vehicles targeted by thieves last year – equating to around 1 vehicle stolen every 9 minutes, or 154 per day – 2,384 were Fiestas, which was nearly 500 more than the Range Rover which was the second-most-popular vehicle among thieves in 2019. The Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, and BMW 3 Series completed the top-five.

Ford Fiesta 2,384
Range Rover 1,917
Volkswagen Golf 1,331
Ford Focus 1,200
BMW 3 Series 1,041
Vauxhall Astra 836
Land Rover Discovery 791
Mercedes-Benz E-Class 612
BMW 5 Series 506
Audi A3 456

West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, and the West Midlands were the hotspots for car thefts according to the study.

After looking at 10 years of data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Rivervale Leasing discovered that just two in five stolen vehicles are returned, and that 75 percent of recovered stolen vehicles come back damaged, with 22 percent written off completely.

Car thief looking inside car

It's not just vehicle damage that occurs though. As many as 84 percent of car crime victims' mental health was affected, with some even having panic attacks, depression and difficulty sleeping.

Rivervale Leasing's 10 top tips to prevent car theft

1. Park your vehicle in your garage, or at least parked on your property
2. If you need to park away from home at night, go to a well-lit area
3. Check all windows are closed before leaving your vehicle
4. Install an anti-theft device to discourage thieves, like a wheel lock
5. If you have keyless entry, use a signal-blocking pouch
6. Get a GPS tracker so you can always monitor your vehicle
7. Keep all valuables and electrical equipment out of sight
8. Don’t keep your keys in a visible place at home, like beside a window
9. Park with your wheels turned towards an obstacle to deter thieves
10. Always lock your doors, even when you’re driving

Gallery: 2018 Ford Fiesta ST