Car theft is on the rise in the UK. Last year, 58,082 vehicles were stolen, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). That’s 18% or 9,590 vehicles more than in 2021.

So, on average 159 cars a day are stolen in the UK. Find out which cars are most stolen and the steps you can take to reduce the chances of your car being one of them.

Which cars are most stolen in the UK?

Rivervale Leasing obtained figures under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request in November 2022, which shows the number of cars stolen in the UK between 1 November 2021 and 28 October 2022, broken down by make and model[1].

The top 10 most stolen cars in that period are as follows:
  1. Ford Fiesta: 5,724
  2. Land Rover Range Rover: 5,209
  3. Ford Focus: 2,048
  4. Volkswagen Golf: 1,959
  5. Land Rover Discovery: 1,778
  6. Vauxhall Corsa: 1,268
  7. Vauxhall Astra: 1,215
  8. Mercedes-Benz C Class: 981
  9. Audi A3: 805
  10. Ford Ecosport: 656

It is perhaps not surprising that the most common car on the road in the UK is also the one most stolen, at a rate of approximately 17 a day.

But the most stolen vehicle per car on the road is the Land Rover Discovery. This is a 7-seat SUV, and the high-end D300 Metropolitan Edition can fetch between around £65,000 - £75,000 second-hand[2]. This suggests that certain cars are likely to be specifically targeted, rather than just being an opportunistic theft.

What happens when a car is stolen?

Stolen cars are usually stripped for parts, resold, used by thieves for transportation – sometimes to aid other criminal activities – or just abandoned. Cars used for joyriding are often ditched or set on fire.

It’s believed that some stolen cars – specifically luxury vehicles – are given false plates and shipped abroad[3], although it’s difficult to substantiate what percentage of vehicles are smuggled overseas.

If your car is stolen, you need to report it to the police by dialling 101. You’ll need to tell them the car’s:

  • Registration number (ie number plate)
  • Make and model
  • Colour

You’ll also need to inform your insurance provider.

Find out all the details of what to do if your vehicle’s been stolen at GOV.UK.

How can I stop my car from being stolen?

While it may not be possible to fully erase the risk, there are steps you can take to help prevent your car from being targeted.

Keep your car locked

It sounds obvious, but it can be easy to forget to lock your car, or to rely on automatic locking without double-checking.

Many vehicle thefts are opportunistic, and would-be thieves will simply try the car doors to check if they’re unlocked. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

Be careful where you park

It’s always best to park in spots which are likely to put off potential thieves. In the case of street parking, try to keep it somewhere brightly lit, and ideally well populated. If it’s in a car park, try to keep it in view of CCTV, and if possible, ensure that the car park is secure, and ideally staffed.

If you park your car on the driveway at home, you could also invest in a home security camera or video doorbell, and park it within view.

Check out nine simple ways to improve your home security here.

Have a tracker fitted

If it doesn’t already have one, having a tracker fitted to your vehicle will make it easier for police to recover if it goes missing. As an added bonus, some car insurance providers may reduce your quote if they know your car has additional security features.

Don’t leave documents in the car

Keeping the car’s documents in the car itself, such as in the glove box, seems like an obvious and convenient place to store them. However, this is counter-intuitive. If your car is stolen, ready access to docs such as its logbook and service history could make it easier to potentially sell on.

There are many products that can reduce the risk of your car being stolen, ranging from £8; right up to £500.

Here are few that could help:
  • Signal blocking pouches - used to block the keys signal, usually start at £8. police approved versions are also available for approx. £150.
  • Pedal locks –£15, steering wheel seat belt lock £33.
  • Physical Driveway locking post £55.

If your car does get stolen, these should help find or immobilise your car:
  • Carlock basic tracker £35
  • There are also high-tech immobiliser systems, which require you to create a combination of buttons to unlock the system using the dash/steering wheel buttons, e.g. Ghost II – is a TASSA verified product and approx. £500.

All of the above items can all be purchased online, on Amazon, Halfords or other websites.

Read some additional tips to keep your car safe from tech-savvy thieves here.

For more car safety tips, go to Solved.