On average, 53 householders in England and Wales have their cars stolen as part of a burglary, official government figures show.
The number of cars stolen after a house burglary, where keys are obtained, increased by 19 per cent in the past year alone. According to AA Insurance, the Government's statistics bear out its own claims records: "It's almost impossible to steal a modern car without first obtaining the keys," said Simon Douglas, the director of AA Insurance.
"Although some cars are quickly recovered, particularly if fitted with a tracking device, many just disappear. It's believed they are either taken out of the country in freight containers or broken up for the lucrative overseas spares market."
In total, AA estimates that this type of car theft accounts for £190m in claims.
Mr Douglas says that "a common tactic for thieves is to take keys off hall tables or from convenient key racks near the door. Or they simply fish for them with a pole through the letterbox.
"Keys are the weakest link in the car security chain and you should treat them as cash. You wouldn't leave £10,000 or more in banknotes lying around – yet that's exactly what many people seem to do with their car keys."Reuse content