Detectives have warned drivers about the dangers of car theft using electronic devices, following two arrests made earlier in the year in Sheffield.
A recent series of thefts have been carried out using electronic car key jammers, with thieves favouring hand-held signal blocking devices, which block the key’s locking feature, meaning the car shows no signs of forced entry.
Two men, aged 22 and 24, of Sheffield, were arrested on suspicion of the theft of a vehicle at the Woodhall Services on the M1 in January.
Inspector Caroline Bakewell, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “We’ve seen a recent spike in thefts from vehicles which show no signs of entry, where the driver clearly recalls locking their doors and are confident they can be attributed to thieves blocking their signals remotely.”
“The only sure way to know your car is locked is to check it manually. If your indicator lights flash, wing mirrors fold in, or the horn beeps when you lock it, this is a sure sign your vehicle has locked, but the failsafe method is to give your door handle a little tug before you walk away.”
The jamming devices can be used on multiple cars at a time, with a range of 75 metres that can unlock the doors of a whole car park when used.
Insp. Bakewell also added: “We have received 26 reports of thefts of this nature in the Rotherham district since February and are eager to bring this issue and the associated crime prevention advice to the attention of motorists, to enable them to protect their property. Please circulate this message to your friends on social media, so they can protect their vehicles.”
The rise in use of electronic key jamming devices has affected forces nationally, which was highlighted by the National Police Chiefs’ Council.