THIEVES FIT SHOW CAR WITH HOME­MADE TRACKER

And they’re look­ing to tar­get YOUR clas­sic next

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Front Page - Mur­ray Scul­lion

Shock­ing re­ports of thieves us­ing home-made track­ing de­vices have led to fresh se­cu­rity warn­ings. Track­ing de­vices used to lo­cate cars re­motely can be man­u­fac­tured by crim­i­nals from off-the-shelf parts for less than £5.

This new warn­ing fol­lows the dis­cov­ery of one such de­vice on a highly mod­i­fied Es­cort RS Cos­worth, which had been on dis­play at the Ford Fair event at Sil­ver­stone.

The ad­vice to clas­sic car own­ers is to be vig­i­lant. Parts – and in­struc­tions on how to make the track­ers – can be found read­ily on the In­ter­net.

Dr Ken Ger­man, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Auto Theft In­ves­ti­ga­tors’ com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor says: ‘Crooks can eas­ily make these de­vices, and at­tach them to your car in a hard-to-reach place where you don’t reg­u­larly check.’

Po­lice are warn­ing clas­sic own­ers to be vig­i­lant at car shows, as new re­ports sug­gest home-made track­ing de­vices used to find your cars can be man­u­fac­tured by crim­i­nals for less than £5.

The parts, as well as in­struc­tions on how to make them, can be found for free and eas­ily on the in­ter­net.

An ex­am­ple high­light­ing this ac­tiv­ity by crim­i­nals was brought to light by in­sur­ance com­pany, Need to In­sure, af­ter one of its clients found a de­vice lo­cated un­der­neath the car af­ter at­tend­ing a show.

Of­fice man­ager of Need to In­sure Paul Bostrom says: ‘The de­vice was found on a highly mod­i­fied Es­cort RS Cos­worth that had been on dis­play at Ford Fair, Sil­ver­stone.

‘Our client had heard about the de­vices be­ing put onto cars so had a thor­ough check over his car and found the de­vice pic­tured.’

Var­i­ous Ford fo­rums have spec­u­lated on other de­vices be­ing found at the same event, and a Ford Fo­cus RS MkI be­ing stolen, but these are yet to be con­firmed by po­lice.

The home-made track­ing de­vices in ques­tion con­sist of a 9v bat­tery, ba­sic elec­tron­ics and a sim-card from a mo­bile phone. These de­vices al­low the crim­i­nal to see where your car is at any time, as well as how long it has been sta­tion­ary for.

Many thieves wait un­til a car hasn’t moved for a day, then pounce. They steal the ve­hi­cle and its con­tents in one fell swoop.

Dr Ken Ger­man, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Auto Theft In­ves­ti­ga­tors’ com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor says: ‘It’s very wor­ry­ing for clas­sic own­ers. Crooks can eas­ily make these de­vices, and at­tach them to your car in a hard-to-reach place where you don’t reg­u­larly check, like un­der a wheel arch or bumper.’

Bill Tay­lor, sales man­ager for track­ing de­vice man­u­fac­turer Road An­gel, in­sists its prod­ucts can only help clas­sic own­ers. He says: ‘In order to work, our de­vices have to be regis­tered. Other prod­ucts on the mar­ket of­fer a sim­ple GPS track­ing de­vice stick. This stick is bat­tery op­er­ated – and you con­trol it your­selves. These have the ca­pac­ity to be used for home­made de­vices such as the ones men­tioned.’

‘Crooks can eas­ily at­tach them to your car in a hard-tore­ach place, you don’t of­ten check’

Many have called for big events to in­crease se­cu­rity. A spokesper­son for the Lan­caster In­sur­ance Clas­sic Mo­tor­show says: ‘ We work closely with the NEC se­cu­rity and traf­fic team to make sure there is CCTV in place and reg­u­lar pa­trols around the car parks through­out the event.’

Se­cu­rity ex­perts sug­gest that when at shows, cars should be locked at all time, and own­ers be ex­tra ob­ser­vant.

This de­vice was dis­cov­ered un­der the chas­sis of a mod­i­fied Es­cort Cos­worth at the Ford Fair event

Your clas­sic car could be broad­cast­ing its where­abouts with­out you know­ing a thing about it.

The home-made track­ers use mo­bile phone tech­nol­ogy to lo­cate their tar­get.

Home-made de­vice as found stuck to the bot­tom of a Ford Es­cort RS Cos­worth. Be vig­i­lant!

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