Seasonal ways to steal cars

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The Independent Online
MOTORING ORGANISATIONS have identified three new types of car thief who have sprung up in response to the latest attempts by manufacturers and police forces to improve vehicle security.

These new techniques - known as "frosting", "hooking" and "gifting" - take advantage of drivers' complacency that their cars are theft-proof. Thieves are selecting high-value luxury saloon cars such as Jaguars and Mercedes.

Frosting, which originated in the West Midlands, preys on motorists who leave their engines running while the car defrosts and nip into the house for a cup of tea. The thief sneaks into the car and drives off with an early Christmas present;

Hooking is when car thieves push long metal hooks through letterboxes to prise away keys left hanging near the front door;

Gifting is a seasonal crime. Many Christmas shoppers return to their cars halfway through the trip and leave parcels visible on the back-seat or on the hatchback shelf.

The RAC said these crimes had emerged since local councils and business started making greater use of close circuit television (CCTV) in high crime areas. Last year thieves pryed on garage forecourts as many drivers left their keys in the car while paying for petrol, but this had been made too difficult by CCTV.

Edmund King, RAC director of campaigns, said: "Security improvements, alarms and improved immobilisers have made it much harder for the car thief to break into and steal luxury cars."

He said simple measures, such as concealing car keys and not leaving car doors open or their contents visible, would prevent the problem.