Police offer reassurance to motorists after car key burglary in Bishop's Castle area

Police have spoken out to reassure the community after a car key burglary in the Bishop's Castle area.

Car key burglary is a crime where an individual breaks into a home with the specific aim of removing car keys and stealing a car from that property.

PCSO Calvin Brown, of Bishop's Castle and Craven Arms Rural policing team said: "We want to reassure the community we are doing all that we can to trace those responsible."

The police have also advised what car owners can do to protect their vehicles if they have keyless entry systems.

Cars with keyless entry unlock automatically when the key comes within a short distance of the car. This can be from inside a pocket or bag.

PCSO Brown said: "If you have to push a button on your car key to open your car, you don't have keyless entry.

"Keyless car theft or 'relay theft' is when a device is used to fool the car into thinking the key is close by. This unlocks the car and starts the ignition.

"Thieves only need to be within a few metres of your car key to capture the signal, even if it’s inside your home. This means that even if your car and home are secure, thieves can still unlock, start and steal your car."

PCSO Brown says there are steps drivers can take to protect keyless entry cars

When at home keep your car key (and the spare) well away from the car.

Put the keys in a screened or signal-blocking pouch, such as a Faraday Bag.

Reprogramme your keys if you buy a second hand car.

Turn off wireless signals on your fob when it's not being used.

PCSO Brown said: "Perpetrators of this crime often ‘work to order’ and will target specific vehicles, based on demand and value.

"If a criminal is targeting a certain vehicle they will also be targeting the owner, looking for easy ways to exploit their security and get to their keys.

"The most common methods used by thieves are to follow victims’ home or 'cruise' around residential areas looking for opportunities. If you think you are being followed or see any suspicious vehicles, take the registration number and report it to the police.

You can also reduce your chances of becoming a victim of car key burglars with the following simple crime prevention methods which are the most effective way to deter potential thieves:

• always keep your keys somewhere safe and out of sight

• always lock your car away safely in the garage, if you have one

• fit a high quality alarm to your vehicle

• use additional security systems such immobilisers and visible security locks

• always take your keys with you when leaving the vehicle unattended

• always keep your keys safe and concealed in public places

• make sure doors, windows, the boot and sunroof are secure whenever you leave your vehicle

• If you own more than one vehicle, park the lesser valued vehicle behind the more expensive one on the driveway, making it more difficult to remove

It is also important to remember to protect your home:

• make sure all windows and doors are securely locked

• install a high quality burglar alarm

• install an exterior security lighting system

If you are the victim of a burglary of any kind, call 999 immediately.

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