Stolen vehicle recovery experts Tracker have revealed the latest edition of its 'Top Ten Most Stolen and Recovered league table', which was first published in 2009.

The data revealed that London is still the region where the most cars are stolen and recovered, ahead of neighbouring country Essex, where police have discovered numerous 'chop shops' where stolen cars are broken up into parts and those parts sold on.

Third on the table was the West Midlands, which had a 45 percent increase in vehicle thefts between 2016-19. Also with comparable rises were Hertfordshire (a 50 percent rise) and Surrey (a 44 percent rise) which took seventh and eighth places on the table respectively.

Broken car glass window from theft

"It is clear from both sets of data that thieves have stepped up activity in some regions over recent years," said Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker. "During this period of lockdown, it is even more important that car owners remain vigilant and do what they can to keep their car safe."

Essex, Kent, Surrey and Hertfordshire were identified as car theft hot spots in the south of England by Tracker, with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Land Rover the most popular manufacturers amongst thieves. In the North, West and South Yorkshire, Manchester, and Merseyside were the criminal hotspots – Merseyside reappearing in the league table for the first time since dropping out in 2018.  The Range Rover Vogue is the most stolen car in Manchester, with the BMW X5 the most stolen and recovered vehicle in neighbouring West Yorkshire.

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"Our analysis highlights some interesting manufacturer preferences by region, as 4x4s continuing to dominate our top 10 most desirable makes and models that thieves are stealing," added Wain. "However, whilst it is common for car thieves to target premium marques, we should not underestimate the appetite for lower value cars."

There has also been an increase in keyless car thefts. A massive 92 percent of the cars Tracker recovered last year were taken without using the keys, representing a 26 percent increase compared with four years ago.

“To help prevent car owners falling victim to keyless car theft, traditional visual deterrents, such as crook locks and wheel clamps can help deter thieves and are a good investment to make," Wain said. "However, those motorists that have invested in SVR technology are very clearly benefiting from the protection."

Car Crime

Top 10 Regions of stolen and recovered vehicles in 2019

1.     London
2.     Essex
3.     West Midlands
4.     Manchester
5.     West Yorkshire
6.     South Yorkshire
7.     Herefordshire
8.     Surrey
9.     Kent
10.  Merseyside

UK Police Forces
Top Five rises in vehicle theft across the UK between 2016-19

1. Nottinghamshire
2. Staffordshire
3. Hertfordshire
4. West Midlands
5. Surrey