Tue, 05 Jun 2018
CAR thieves are preying on motorists at motorway service stations using an ingenious electronic gadget.
Police have warned drivers to be on the alert following 23 incidents of theft from vehicles in three services – Membury, Chieveley and Reading – during May.
The thieves are believed to be using a ‘jammer’ which blocks electronic locking signals.
The offenders gained entry to the vehicles without causing any damage and stole items from the boot while the motorist was inside the service station.
Sgt Alan Hawkett, based at Newbury police station, said: “Following the arrest of two men earlier this year, we have intelligence to suggest that a jamming device is being used to commit these offences.
“When switched on, the device will block the signal from the motorist’s vehicle key, preventing the vehicle from locking and allowing the criminal to have access.
“Using such a device is illegal under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006.
“Our advice for motorists stopping at motorway service stations across the county is to look and listen for confirmation that their vehicle has locked before walking away from it.
“You should manually check the door handle after attempting to lock your car and never leave any valuables in the vehicle. If you are not able to lock your vehicle using your key remote, please do not leave it unattended, as this could be a sign that a jammer is being used nearby.
“Please do not approach these individuals. Instead you should report any suspicious activity to police immediately by dialling 999.”
Alternatively the independent Crimestoppers charity can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.