Vehicle theft on the rise ‘due to shortage of auto parts’

A sharp rise in vehicle thefts could be linked to a shortage of auto parts, police said.

Thieves across the country are dismantling engines “within hours” so they can resell the parts for “high prices”.


West Midlands Police have seen a 19% increase in car thefts over the past two yearsCredit: Getty

Factory closures due to Covid have led to a shortage of semiconductor chips and other components. There were 88,915 car thefts recorded by 34 police forces in the 12 months to March, or 244 thefts every day – one every six minutes.

Superintendent Jim Munro, of West Midlands Police, said: ‘We have seen issues with microchips but also with particular vehicle parts which have been difficult for people to get.

“Some of these coins are being sold for quite high prices due to demand.”

West Midlands Police have seen a 19% increase in car thefts over the past two years, with only South Yorkshire (28%) and the City of London (25%).

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Surrey saw a 12% increase, Merseyside 4% and Greater Manchester one.

Superintendent Munro added: “People will be working all night in industrial areas, and sometimes these vehicles have been stripped within hours. The parts are then sold and the hulls awaiting scrap.

He warned drivers to beware of scammers using signal blockers to prevent cars from locking properly when a key fob is used, even when parking at home.

He said: “When you lock your vehicle, make sure the vehicle is locked, the signal is not blocked, no matter how long you leave the vehicle.”

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