Many people are aware of the frustration and inconvenience caused when their vehicle is stolen or broken into. To make matters worse, when alternative transport and loss of claims bonus are taken into consideration, costs to you could be as high as £800.

In many cases simple but effective precautions could have been taken to prevent many of these crimes. The information on these pages is designed to give guidance when buying or securing your vehicle.

Preventing theft from a vehicle

The most common items stolen from cars are:

  • Sat Nav
  • In Car entertainment systems
  • Mobile phones
  • Handbags and briefcases
  • Credit cards
  • Vehicle documents

Car crime is the easiest of all crime to prevent. Consider the following:

  • Car thieves have stolen items by opening car doors and breaking windows even when people are still in the vehicle.
  • Always keep valuables out of sight and consider keeping all doors locked and the windows closed.  
  • If possible remove them when the vehicle is unattended, or fit a security device to prevent their theft.

Methods of protecting your vehicle


Most modern cars now come with Alarms or immobilisers as standard. The alarm system protects the cars contents, whilst the immobiliser prevents the vehicle from being taken under its own power.

Electronic and Physical Immobilisers

Electronic immobilisers are used to prevent a car from being stolen. They are wired into the vehicles electrical system and require a coded key or transponder to switch the device off.

Physical devices include steering wheel locks, wheel clamps and gearbox immobilisers. Always ensure that you fit these devices, even when leaving your vehicle for just a few minutes. Here are various ways to make your car undesirable for thieves and vandals.

Safer Parking Schemes

The Safer Parking Scheme, launched in 2004 to tackle vehicle crime, produces parking facilities which are non- threatening and as free from crime as possible. Improved boundaries, standards of lighting, signage, vehicle and pedestrian access and the use of CCTV in and around the car parks has led to the drop in crime. A sign with a white tick on a bright blue background easily identifies parking areas which are part of the scheme. 

Security Guidelines

The following guidelines should help prevent you and your vehicle from becoming a victim.

  • Never leave possessions in your vehicle. If you must, lock them in the boot. Always take personal correspondence, cash, credit or debit cards with you. Never leave any documentation pertaining to the vehicle, service record, registration document etc.
  • Remove all signs of Sat Nav in the car. e.g. craddle and sucktion marks on windscreen.
  • No matter how briefly you are going to be away from your car, you must remember to lock all doors, close the sunroof and secure the boot.
  • Always fit and set security devices.
  • Remember to always remove the ignition key when you park, even if your car is on the drive or when you are filling up with fuel at a garage.
  • Don't forget to remove mobile phones and detachable entertainment systems, if fitted. Take note of the model and serial numbers of these items and property mark them.
  • Consider having your windows and headlamps security etched.
  • When driving, keep all all valuables out of site or locked in the boot.
  • When parking away from home try to use a supervised car park. Ensure that the area is well lit and that access is safe, as you may be returning to your vehicle in darkness.
  • In the cold weather DO NOT leave your vehicle unattended to defrost with the engine running. If your vehicle is stolen your insurance may be invalid. Leaving a vehicle unattended with an engine running is also an offence.

Security tips for motorists (PDF 428kb)

Sold Secure

Sold Secure is a scheme designed to give the public free and impartial advice on quality vehicle security products. This coupled with a network of auto-crime prevention centres allows you to obtain unbiased and free advice on your particular choice of security product.

Established since 1992, Sold Secure relies on a partnership approach between the Police, Master Locksmiths Association, the Retail Motor Industry Federation, the Mobile Electronic Security Federation and you.

The scheme only recommends products which have passed a series of rigorous attack tests. These examinations are carried out by Sold Secure at their evaluation centre. Lists of approved Sold Secure products can be obtained free of charge from Sold Secure Ltd on 01327 264687.