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Posted on Thursday 23 March 2023
Officers are urging motorists to be vigilant following a spate of car thefts which have taken place across County Durham and Darlington in recent months.

The issue which is happening across the country sees thieves predominately stealing ‘keyless’ cars to sell on, strip for parts or use them to help them commit crime.

Motorists are being advised to take extra precautions to improve security of the vehicles, whether that be parking in a garage if they have one or a well-lit location or using additional security equipment such as steering locks, trackers and faraday bags for keys.

Criminals are targeting all different makes and models, however across the county we have seen a specific increase in the number of Ford vehicles being stolen which pre-date 2017.

Newer models are largely unaffected due to advances in technology by manufacturers.

Durham Constabulary is handing out 80 free steering locks to those living in the force area in a bid to thwart criminals who have targeted the specific model in recent months.

To qualify for a free steering lock, you must reside in County Durham or Darlington and you must own a Ford vehicle which was registered pre 2017.

To request one of these you will need to email:

If successful, you will receive a confirmation email, providing you with details of what to do next.

Any correspondence will only be sent from the email address mentioned above. Please do not reply to any other address.

The Saxon Stop Lock Pro steering locks have been funded by Durham Constabulary and the Office of the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner.

Alternatively, motorists can purchase their own security equipment. Tracker and Bristol Street Motors, in Durham, are offering a 20 per cent discount on security measures.
Staff at Bristol Street Motors can also help owners with newer Ford vehicles to download the Ford Pass App, which tracks its movements.

Detective Sergeant Sarah Hindmarsh, of Durham Constabulary, said: “We have seen an increase in keyless car thefts, and we need to work together to put a stop to it.

“We know how disruptive and upsetting this can be for owners and we are encouraging people to take extra precautions to prevent this activity.

“If you witness any suspicious activity in your street, please contact us on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

“Crimestoppers can also be used on 0800 555 111.”

Joy Allen, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “These steering locks will act as an added layer of protection for Ford vehicle owners who are now unfortunately becoming the latest victims of car theft.

“Keyless entry accounted for the majority of theft of motor vehicles that we had in 2021-22, therefore we need to target our response effectively where we know most harm is being caused.

“We urge people to get in touch if they would like to request this valuable equipment.

“I am driven to ensure that where we have intelligence that specific crimes are going on we provide our residents with the necessary protection and advice to eliminate these risks, whilst we work hard to tackle the root cause of these problems.”

To reduce the chance of your vehicle becoming a target for criminals:
• Park in your garage if you have one, alternatively find a well-lit parking space.
• Use a steering lock.
• Place keys in a signal blocking pouch.
• Remove all valuables from the vehicle.

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