Warwickshire records biggest rise in vehicle thefts in country

Police are appealing for the public's help
Police are appealing for the public's help

Warwickshire recorded the biggest rise in vehicle thefts over a three year period in the country, new figures have shown.

Between 2013 and 2016, recorded incidents shot up by 189 per cent, far higher than any other police force.

However, Warwickshire’s overall figure of 275 thefts in 2016 means it recorded the third-least total amount of vehicle thefts in the country.

The news comes after a Freedom of Information request by RAC found 65,783 vehicles were reported stolen in 2013 in England and Wales. This had risen to 85,688 incidents in 2016.

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “We fear thieves are now becoming more and more well equipped with technology capable of defeating car manufacturers’ anti-theft systems.

“This is bad news for motorists as it has the effect of causing insurance premiums to rise at a time when they are already being pushed up by a variety of factors, not least the recent change to the discount rate for life-changing personal injury compensation claims and the rises in insurance premium tax.”

Warwickshire Police claimed the figures for 2013 were incorrect, meaning the percentage increase would be lower than reported.

A spokesman said: “Having looked into this we can confirm that due to a change in recording on April 1 2014 this figure is incorrect and there will have in fact been more such incidents in 2013 and therefore the increase in offences will not have been as large as highlighted.

“Due to the way the data was transferred over to a new system in 2014 we unable to use this new system to say how many car thefts there were in 2013.”

Overall vehicle crime in Warwickshire has stayed at similar levels compared to 2013, but rose from 2015.

Inspector Julia Brealey said: “We are aware of an increase in vehicle crime in Warwickshire and have a dedicated operation in place to address the issue.

“The aims of the operation are to prevent car crime, deter those who would commit such crimes and catch those responsible.

“We have identified hotspot areas in the county and have high visibility and covert policing plans in place for these areas.”