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‘Epidemic’ as 10,000 cars stolen each year in the West Midlands

By Alex Ross | Crime | Published:

A rise in car theft in the West Midlands – from 5,000 to nearly 10,000 a year – has been described as an epidemic by a police boss.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson made the comment following a summit with car manufacturers.

He asked bosses from BMW, Ford, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Audi and Honda to increase the security for their vehicles.

And he hit out at Amazon for the listing of lock picks on its website. He is yet to receive a reply.

Speaking at a meeting for the strategic crime and policing board, Mr Jamieson said: “The number of vehicles stolen has doubled over the last two years going from 5,000 to nearly 10,000 per year now.

“It is clear that there is organised crime going on here and its causing a huge amount of misery and of course even if you haven’t had your car stolen.

“I renewed my insurance on my car last night and discovered how it has escalated enormously because we’re all paying for this. We are now facing an epidemic.”

He wants manufacturers to install extra security on keyless devices.

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He added: “We are seeing that vehicles are being electronically stolen – stolen within 20 to 30 seconds from people’s drives and off they go.”

He claims the kit used by gangs to open the cars are available for sale online.

And while he has been in talks with eBay about removing items, Amazon has not engaged with his office as yet.

On Amazon, lock picks for Fords can be purchased for as little as £21.

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He added: “I am disappointed that Amazon have not taken a responsible stance on this issue.

“They are selling devices that are making it easier for criminals to steal vehicles. eBay have shown willing and have taken down some items, but need to do much more, as some items remain for sale.

“I have called on the Government to bring in a national register, so that only those who need these devices for legitimate reasons can purchase them.”

Dr Steffan George from the Master Locksmiths Association is backing Mr Jamieson in his campaign.

He said: “The open availability of electronic compromise equipment, lock picks and other tools that only locksmiths should have access to is distressing for our industry.

“The lack of regulation of the locksmith industry means that anyone can call themselves a locksmith.

“It is also the reason that it is difficult to restrict the sale of these devices.”

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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