Keyless car thefts Leeds: Range Rovers being swiped and shipped overseas with keyless fob trick

Police have issued a warning after seeing a rise in keyless cars being swiped in Leeds - including a spate of Range Rover thefts

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 11:51 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 11:54 am
Police have warned keyless Range Rovers are being swiped in Leeds and shipped overseas

Cars which have a keyless entry using a keyless fob are being pinched using a trick by thieves. West Yorkshire Police said the force has seen a rise in Range Rovers being pinched from driveways using the trick.

The luxury 4x4s are 'stolen to order' by criminals and then exported abroad.

A spokesman for the police said: "We are seeing a rise in keyless car thefts across the force area, specifically Range Rovers being stolen to order and exported abroad.

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"Please make use of the below, which contains some crime prevention advice for all keyless-entry car owners."

-> Motoring police out in force in Harehills and six other Leeds areas to issue fines What is keyless car theft and how can you protect against it?

Keyless theft, also known as 'relay theft' occurs when a device is used to fool the car into thinking the key is close by; this unlocks the car and allows the ignition to be started.

Is my car keyless entry?

If you have to press a button on your car keys to enter your car and turn the ignition with your key, then you are not 'keyless'.

Keyless entry cars allow the driver to unlock and start the car with the key fob still in their pocket. Once in the car, the driver can press a button to start the engine.

Cars with a keyless entry system can be stolen using the 'relay' theft method.

How can I protect my vehicle?

- Keep car keys safe. Keep them away from windows or doors and far away from your car. Thieves rely on intercepting the signal from the key and hacking into it. If it's far away from the road or driveway, they will struggle to pick it up.

- Use a signal blocking pouch. This can block the signal's transmission. Placing the key in a foil-lined box when not in use will have the same effect.

- Turn off the fob's wireless signal: Although less convenient, consider turning off the key's wireless function, especially on a spare that isn't used often. Check your car manual to see how to do this.

- Reprogramme keys: This erases the code from the car to the key. If for example you have lost your spare key, a thief will not be able to use it if you've had the remaining keys and locks reprogrammed. Locksmiths will be able to do this.

- OBD port: Some thefts involve thieves breaking into the car's OBD (onboard diagnostic) port. Check where yours is and consider a cover or lock guard.

- Steering wheel lock: Consider a steering wheel lock. This is a locking metal bar which goes across the wheel. It's a physical lock which would have to be sawn off, rather than hacked, which might attract attention and it's unlikely many thieves would even attempt to remove it.