Vehicle thefts have risen by more than 30% in the past three years, with thieves embracing technology in order to bypass sophisticated systems. A Freedom of Information request to 40 police forces in England and Wales, seen by RAC Insurance, revealed car thefts had risen by nearly a third to 85,688 vehicles stolen in 2016 - up from 65,783 in 2013.

London had the highest number of vehicle thefts: 26,496 - up 29% from 2013, with stolen vehicles accounting for a third of all reported thefts in the capital. However, the largest increase of vehicle thefts was seen in West Yorkshire, where the number of stolen vehicles rose 57% - up to 5,930 from 4,161.

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: "Technology advances in immobilisers, keys and car alarms had caused the number of vehicle thefts to decrease significantly from more than 300,000 in 2002 but sadly they have now increased after bottoming out in 2013 and 2014.

There are a number of tactics drivers can use to deter these technology-savvy thieves including parking in well-lit areas, not leaving any valuables in your car, and never leaving the keys in the ignition unattended. Mark Godfrey added "In addition, anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks which were popular in the 1980s and early 1990s are starting to make a comeback as they are still a very effective visible deterrent".

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Car theft on the rise as thieves defeat modern security systems