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Northern Ireland has a very low car theft rate

Across the Irish Sea, the most active regions for car thefts have been identified in a new study. A comparison by experts shows Northern Ireland as most favourable with just 244 cars stolen, which represents just 23 of each 100,000 on the road.

Compared with the worst car theft hotspot, Greater London, with a massive 18,624 car thefts which represents 760 stolen per 100,000 on the road in the British capital.

Produced by leading vehicle history check and valuation specialists HPI, the data reveals that outside of Greater London, the UK’s top car theft hotspot is the West Midlands, with 11,865 cars stolen across the whole of 2023. The West Midlands region had a total of 2,955,660 cars on its roads in 2023.

Greater London’s 18,624 recorded thefts from a total of 2,451,620 cars on the road. The most stolen car in the British capital is the Ford Fiesta Hatchback with 942 reported thefts. The second most stolen is the Toyota Rav 4 Estate, which recorded 826 thefts from just 7,009 on the road, a 12 per cent theft rate.

The North West of England is the third highest for recorded thefts, with 6,742 cars stolen from a total of 3,347,918 on its roads.

Yorkshire and the Humber (6,357), East of England (5,761), South East (5,578), East Midlands (2,955) and Scotland (1,891) are next on the list for thefts, followed by the South West (1,790), the North East (1,724) and Wales (1,448).

HPI identifies 109 cars that are flagged as stolen every day. Unfortunately for consumers, cars with hidden secrets are often offered for sale by unscrupulous sellers who won’t always declare to unsuspecting buyers that the car is stolen or even an insurance write-off.

The list of the most stolen cars per region compiled by HPI is below. Please note that this total excludes company/ fleet cars and any unable to be linked to a Cap-ID. This equates to 13 per cent of the car parc, circa five million vehicles excluded from this analysis.

Jon Clay, identification director at HPI, said: “Police data shows that a car was stolen in Britain every 8 minutes on average last year with car thefts up by almost five per cent on the previous year. HPI data identifies over 100 cars every day flagged as stolen.

“Advancing technology is increasingly being used by ruthless car thieves to overcome the security devices used by car manufacturers. The method of theft is also changing with keyless car theft now the most common tactic used by organised criminals to steal the latest motors of all values.

“Turbo decoder theft is also becoming increasingly more common. This involves the targeting of manual door locks and works like a skeleton key. As a turbo decoder turns, the spigots align to the shape of the empty keyhole and it reproduces the format of the key. Worryingly, turbo decoders can be easily bought online because locksmiths legitimately use these to gain entry to cars.

“A standard HPI Check helps motorists to quickly establish if a car has been reported stolen or if there are discrepancies, such as accident data or mileage tampering. By building up a comprehensive vehicle history, any discrepancies are highlighted, arming car buyers with the information and confidence they need prior to purchase.”

It is recommended that an HPI Check is commissioned in addition to any valuation. HPI Checks reveal some shocking statistics that can affect the value of a car, including 2205 cars being identified as write-offs, one in three cars having a hidden history, and one in three cars on sale still having outstanding finance.