Police warn drivers to manually lock their vehicles after service station thefts

Radio jamming technology believed to be behind the break-ins at a number of motorway services in Berkshire

Police are warning drivers to manually lock their vehicles when stopping at motorway service stations following a number of thefts reported in Berkshire.
The police believe the thefts may be linked to criminals using some sort of technology that prevents the vehicle from locking remotely. A remote key uses a unique signal to transmit radio waves from the fob to the vehicle. These radio jammers, as they are known, can interrupt the signal that is sent from the fob to your vehicle, leaving your vehicle unlocked when you think it’s locked and vulnerable to criminals.

Police warn drivers to manually lock their vehicles after service station thefts

Police urge motorists to manually check their vehicle after spate of break-ins using radio jammers at motorway services © Copyright James Denham and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Radio jammers can also cover a huge area, meaning potential thieves could work their way through a whole car park.
According to Thames Valley Police, 14 thefts from cars, vans and lorries parked up at motorway services have been reported. All the thefts happened at service stations in Berkshire along the M4 at Chieveley, Membury and Reading services. The incidents have been said to have taken place during the last few weeks of November.
The police said that in some instances there was “no obvious sign of a break-in and no damage caused to the vehicles as items were stolen from them.” Some of the items stolen from the vehicles include wallets, suitcases and a laptop.
Police are urging motorists stopping at a motorway service station to check their vehicle manually to ensure it’s locked correctly. The police also recommend not leaving valuable items in the vehicle whilst it’s left unattended.
Two years ago, a man aged 25 was found guilty of breaking into cars in and around Greater Manchester with the use of a radio jammer. He bought the jammer from somewhere outside of the UK and only paid £35 for it. He then used it in the car parks in central Manchester to target people’s cars.
The jammer prevented his victims’ vehicles from locking, whilst they knew nothing about it. He then simply opened the vehicle’s door and took what he wanted without the victims knowing he’d even gained entry.
He committed thefts and frauds totalling a staggering £33,000 and was jailed for eight months.
The technology being used by these criminals stops your vehicle from locking properly, so it’s hugely important to manually check that all the doors to your vehicle are locked before you leave it unattended.
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