THIEVES FIT SHOW CAR WITH HOMEMADE TRACKER
And they’re looking to target YOUR classic next
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!