PRESS RELEASE

Press release

Tracker Helps Essex Police Uncover Illegal Chop Shop And Recover Over Half Million Pounds Worth Of Vehicles

Stolen Mercedes-Benz worth £55,000 recovered in under five hours along with fourteen other vehicles

When Alpesh Patel realised his £55,000 Mercedes-Benz S500 AMG had been stolen from his driveway in Harrow, he immediately alerted stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) expert Tracker and was reunited with his car within just five hours. Furthermore, the Tracker device installed on Mr Patel’s car led the Essex Police Stolen Vehicle Intelligence Unit and Essex Police Road Crime team to an illegal chop shop, where they made two arrests and discovered fourteen stolen cars, worth a total of around £600,000.

To block the GPS signals emitting from trackers in the stolen vehicles, the criminals had installed industrial GPS jammers. Had it not been for the Tracker unit on Mr Patel’s stolen Mercedes-Benz that emits a VHF signal which cannot be blocked by GPS jammers, his car, along with the other vehicles would not have been recovered.

Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker commented, “Once the Tracker device was activated, the Police were able to quickly locate the stolen car. On arrival, the team found a total of fourteen cars in the Romford, Essex, workshop, all in various stages of stripping for parts. Police forces across the country are fighting an increase in ‘chop shops’ – where stolen vehicles are stripped down and valuable parts sold on either here in the UK or abroad. Stealing cars is a very lucrative business which is why organised criminal gangs are so active, particularly in Essex where they have easy access to shipping ports.”

Mr Alpesh Patel “Of course when I left the house for work, I was very confused as I knew I had parked the car on my driveway the night before. After getting over the initial shock it was gone, I checked my neighbour’s CCTV, and it confirmed that my car was stolen at 2am in just a few minutes by thieves exploiting my car’s keyless entry system. Thankfully, when I purchased the car, it already had a Tracker unit fitted, to which I had subscribed, so I immediately contacted Tracker who in turn, alerted the police. I was amazed my car was found so quickly. I was so relieved to have it returned without any damage, as I use my car to commute to work so it would have been very inconvenient had it been found stripped of parts or not found at all.”

Clive Wain continues, “Keyless entry cars, which enable the owner to unlock their vehicle with a fob in their pocket, on their person or from the comfort of their home, are rising in popularity and availability.  But so too are the skills of criminals, who employ technology designed to intercept the fob’s signals. Owners need to take steps to protect not just their vehicle but also their key fob, to help reduce the likelihood of becoming the next victim. However, experienced criminals can work around many deterrents and security measures, in which case a Tracker is the most reliable option for ensuring a stolen car is reunited with its owner.”

Over £4.2 million-worth of stolen vehicles in total were recovered by Tracker during January to June this year. By the end of June, the volume of theft activity had increased by over 32% compared to the end of January. 92% off all cars recovered were stolen as a result of keyless compromise.

Tracker is the only SVR provider offering vehicle tracking systems that are supported nationwide by UK police forces. Tracker SVR solutions work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. The combination of VHF with GPS/GSM technology, unique to Tracker, makes its units resistant to GPS/GSM jamming, confirming Tracker as a superior security defence against determined thieves.  

 

TRACKER’S TOP TIPS FOR VEHICLE SECURITY

  • Protect the key fob - One element of Keyless car theft works through a relay-style electronic device, which tricks the keyless entry technology installed in the vehicle into thinking that the key is in very close proximity to the car, allowing instant remote access. To prevent a relay attack, all keys, including your spare key should be stored away from where the vehicle is kept when not in use, and the signal blocked by keeping the key fob in a closed tin or faraday bag.
  • Switch off and lock up – Cars should not be left running idle and unattended, even when defrosting windscreens and windows on a cold morning.
  • Make life difficult – Security posts and/or a substantial gate should be fitted for cars parked on driveways, as physical barriers will make thieves think twice.
  • Keep paperwork indoors - Car documents and spare keys should not be left inside the car as it makes it easier for thieves to sell it on.
  • Plan for the worst - Take car security measures to protect your car from being stolen in the first place, such as installing security lighting where you park your car and using a steering wheel lock.
  • Track it - In the event that the criminals get past the usual security measures, a Tracker device – with a unique combination of GPS and Very High Frequency (VHF) capability – gives owners the best chance of their car being found before it is stripped for parts or shipped abroad.