North Yorkshire Police have recently announced a pre-emptive operation to prevent older Defenders being taken from isolated properties in the county in response to a national spike. Officers will be proactively stopping Land Rovers in areas such as the Dales and asking drivers for ownership documents.
And since the beginning of May, 42 Land Rovers have been reported as stolen across South Yorkshire, with Barnsley and Sheffield being the most targeted locations. Only nine have been recovered.
Land Rovers are popular with both owners and criminals for the same reasons. They are incredibly reliable, with many decades-old models still going strong, and the fact that manufacturing of the Defender ended in 2016 means that versions of the original design are no longer being produced. Their parts are also valuable and are relatively easy to extract.
Series I models dating back to the 1940s and 50s and still in use on many farms and country estates and are particularly prized for the classic car market.
More modern luxury models of both Land and Range Rovers are most likely to be stolen 'to order' for export overseas.
Often they are shipped to eastern Europe or given false plates and sold on within the UK, while others are taken to 'chop shops' to be stripped for parts.
Rural communities are particularly vulnerable as they can present opportunities for thieves to steal both classic Defenders owned by farmers and high-end urban models from renovated properties and holiday lets.
How to prevent Land Rover theft
- Keep your electronic key fob away from windows or doors to prevent thieves retrieving the signal. You can also purchase signal blocker devices and pouches.
- When buying, ask the dealership how many keys are programmed for the car and ensure you are given them all.
- If you buy a second-hand vehicle, have your keys recalibrated.
- Consider fitting a tracking device.
- Always keep the vehicle in a locked or secure garage/shed overnight, and in a well-lit open space if none is available.
- Never leave keys in the ignition, even for short periods of time.
- Be careful about posting details of your Land Rover to classic car forums or enthusiast groups on social media that could give away details of your location. Similarly, if you take your vehicle to classic car shows and rallies, be guarded about sharing information with strangers who approach you.