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"Saloon cars and older vehicles are the most likely to be stolen"
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Friday, 29 December, 2000, 05:39 GMT
Older cars 'at greater theft risk'
Someone breaking into a car
One in every 71 cars was stolen last year
New figures suggest that older cars are more likely to be stolen than newer ones.

The Home Office's latest Car Theft Index shows more than 370,000 thousand vehicles were stolen in Britain last year, down on the previous year.

The figures reveal that small saloon cars and vehicles aged between 12 and 14 years are most likely to be stolen.

Giving consumers reliable information about cars vulnerable to theft will help them play their part

Mike O'Brien
Ministers hope that motorists owning the most vulnerable models will take security precautions to avoid becoming victims of theft.

The government wants to cut car crime by 30% by the year 2004.

Last year, a total of 370,463 cars were stolen in England, Scotland and Wales, down 20,808 on the figures for 1998.

This meant that one out of every 71 cars on the road was stolen.

Small saloon cars, such as Ford Escorts and Vauxhall Astras, are most at risk from car thieves, followed by medium-sized saloons such as the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Cavalier.

The type of car least likely to be stolen is the people carrier such as the Ford Galaxy and Renault Espace.

Cars between 12 and 14 years old were stolen with a theft rate of 27 cars per 1,000 whereas only four in every 1,000 cars registered in 1998 was stolen.

'Simple steps'

The car most likely to be stolen was the Nissan Laurel, which was also known as the Datsun Skyline, registered before 1985.

Home Office Minister Mike O'Brien said the Index would be helpful to anyone wanting to buy a new car.

"Giving consumers reliable information about cars vulnerable to theft will help them play their part in achieving the government's target to reduce vehicle crime," he said.

"This knowledge will help encourage owners of older, more at risk vehicles to take simple steps to prevent themselves becoming victim to this costly crime."

Thefts per 1,000
Small saloon - 16
Medium saloon - 14
People carrier - 4
Aged 12 to 14 - 27
Experts say the best weapon against car crime is an immobiliser and there is evidence that criminals are reluctant to tackle the latest car security systems.

Fitting older cars with immobilisers would prevent 60,000 offences a year, the government estimates.

There are more than one million car crime offences a year in the UK.

Vehicle crime accounts for about a fifth of all recorded crime and is estimated to cost the country 3.5bn a year.

Attempted thefts of cars cost motorists 100 with thefts from vehicles leaving motorists on average 270 out of pocket.

If a car is stolen but recovered, the average cost to the owner is 470. If it is never recovered that price rises to 2,190.

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