Keyless car thefts have more than trebled in Hampshire, with six SUVs stolen from Eastleigh and Hedge End in less than three months.

Police have issued a warning to motorists following a spate of thefts between November and January.

Range Rovers, Land Rovers and Jaguars were among the cars stolen from people's driveways.

Keyless car thefts, also known as relay thefts, involve the use of a device to connect to the key's signal from outside a property to unlock the car and start the engine.

This can be done in up to two minutes without the owner noticing until it's too late.

Around 480 such thefts were reported in 2022/23 across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, up from just 135 in the previous 12-month period.

Hedge End and Eastleigh are no exception to the national trends, police say, with six SUVs stolen in the past 10 weeks.

Hedge End and Eastleigh car thefts

Shortly before midnight on Friday November 10, a Range Rover Evoque was stolen from Eastleigh High Street.

Then, at 11.35pm on Saturday December 9, a Range Rover was taken from Bursledon Road in Hedge End.

At 10.15pm on Tuesday December 12, a Nissan Qashqai was stolen from Eastleigh High Street while on Friday December 22, at around 2am, a Jaguar E-PACE was taken from Botley Road in Horton Heath.

Last month, a Land Rover Range Rover was stolen from Ridgeway Close, Chandler's Ford in the early hours of Friday January 19.

Then a Land Rover Discovery was stolen from Foyle Road, Chandler's Ford shortly after 11pm on Wednesday January 31.

In all of these cases, thieves didn't force entry into the vehicles.

Instead, they are thought to have used relay methods to circumvent the vehicles' security systems.

Police are now urging motorists to take extra measures to protect their vehicles

Nine ways to prevent car thefts

A police spokesperson said: "To make life harder for the potential thieves, we would like to encourage owners of keyless vehicles to take extra precautions to prevent becoming a victim of this crime, particularly owners of high value keyless cars, which are often the ones targeted.

"There are a number of steps you can take to protect your vehicle, but it’s important to use a combination of methods and utilise locks and other items to deter thieves and protect yourself to the greatest extent possible.

"To protect your vehicle from being stolen, you can;

  • Keep keys out of sight and away from doors and windows
  • Use a signal blocking pouch, known as a Faraday Bag, to store your keys
  • Turn off your Keyless Fob’s Wireless Signal
  • Use a tested and approved Steering Wheel /Pedal / Gear Lock as a deterrent
  • Tracking devices can help track down your vehicle and the perpetrator should it be taken
  • Check with your manufacturer to make sure your car is as secure as it can be
  • Re-programme your keys if you buy a second hand car
  • Park securely or use your garage if you have one
  • Use CCTV and lighting.

"We are working in partnership with manufacturer Disklok, to offer a one-time unique code (HPDSK15). This remains available for Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents to purchase a steering wheel lock with a discount.

"Residents can report keyless car theft to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary by calling 101 or by reporting it online."