Warning over thefts of ‘keyless’ vehicles in Stamford Hill

Keyless Ford cars are being stolen in Hackney. Picture: David Jones/ PA

Keyless Ford cars are being stolen in Hackney. Picture: David Jones/ PA - Credit: EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

An “epidemic” of keyless vehicle thefts has led to calls for manufacturers to warn customers of their vulnerability.

Drivers of the electronically-controlled cars and vans in and around Stamford Hill are being urged to take protective measures after a rise in thefts over recent months.

Monica Ford parked her Ford Kuga on her drive in Durley Road on Wednesday last week.

She told the Gazette: “I work with the elderly in Tottenham and had my equipment in the car – laptop, hard drive. I went in for tea but didn’t remember to get my stuff out of the car and went to bed.

“My husband woke up early in the morning and said, ‘where did you park the car?’ I said ‘outside’, but it wasn’t there. We called the police.”

Monica said her insurance provider told her there had been a lot of thefts of keyless vehicles recently.

She continued: “I called Ford and sounded off to them. I know it’s not their fault and I’ve always bought Ford cars but they should have told me when I bought it if it was safer to use a key.

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“I’m not happy and won’t be buying another keyless car.”

Moshe Monitz, supervisor at Stamford Hill’s volunteer-run Jewish neighbourhood watch service Shomrim, said at the very least owners should be told to secure their vehicle with a steering lock. He added: “Personally I think the motor trade should advise against purchasing keyless vehicles until manufacturers get a grip on this epidemic issue.”

But a Ford spokesman said the company had invested heavily to deter theft.

He added: “We are constantly learning more about the latest techniques thieves are using and whether there are additional enhancements we can make in our vehicles.”

Police say an increasing number of keyless vehicles are being taken by organised criminals who exploit the electronics.

The Met say crooks use a device to block the radio signals when someone uses their electronic key to lock the vehicle.

Once inside, they use a second device that allows them to download the vehicle’s electronic information onto a blank key, letting them drive off.