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7 Car Theft Statistics in the UK: Updated in 2024

Car thief hand holding screwdriver

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Car theft in the UK has been increasing rapidly, and this alarming trend does not show any signs of slowing down soon. It raises the question of why most cars are being stolen or hijacked and what are the statistics and facts behind it.

Knowing the facts and statistics may help you avoid being a victim of a car crime. The latest statistics on car crimes in the UK show that a car is stolen every 11 minutes! In this article, we’ll go through some UK car theft facts and statistics and dive deeper into them.

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The 7 Car Theft Statistics in the UK

  1. 72% of all stolen cars are never returned to their owners.
  2. The Ford Fiesta is the most stolen car in the UK.
  3. Most stolen cars in the UK end up in chop shops.
  4. Keyless cars are the easiest to steal.
  5. Silver cars are stolen more than any other car colour.
  6. Only 1 in 20 car thefts lead to an arrest in the UK.
  7. A car is stolen in the UK every 11 minutes.
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divider 4 UK Car Theft Statistics

1. 72% Of All Stolen Cars Are Never Returned to Their Owners.

(Auto Express)

If you are afraid of your car being stolen or have had your car stolen previously, you might be afraid to learn that around 72% of them are never found or returned to their owners. Most of the unreturned cars don’t have GPS and are quite popular, making them challenging for police to identify.

If you want to track any vehicle in case it gets lost, simply install tracking devices and a transmitter. The geographic location is transmitted from the satellites to the receiver, which might be in your phone or computer.

According to a report on GPS tracking devices, you can see your vehicle’s travel distance, movement, and exact coordinates. The best part is that most GPS trackers will work even when your car is off. It can also work without an internet connection. According to the Tracker Network UK, owners who fit their vehicles with GPS recovery services had a 95% recovery rate.

Girl after shopping discovered the loss of her automobile
Image Credit: Andriiii, Shutterstock

2. The Ford Fiesta is the Most Stolen Car in the UK.

(Car Theft Solutions, UK)

The Ford Fiesta and the Honda Civic are the UK’s most commonly stolen cars. The Ford Fiesta is a small car, and it’s pretty easy to hotwire the system. It has also been the UK’s best-selling car for many years, and it is pretty difficult to spot a stolen one because it is so common.

The Range Rover is the second best-seller in the UK, which means it is also pretty common. It’s luxurious and has high-quality parts that are attractive to car thieves and auto repair shops. Most car thieves steal it to export to other countries. The Ford Focus is one of the most popular family cars in the UK, meaning that it can be found in large numbers on the roads and is a commonly stolen vehicle.

3. Most Stolen Cars in the UK End up in Chop Shops.

(West-Midlands Police)

Cars are stolen either for resale or spare parts. Most cars, however, are stolen for their spare parts, especially if the car model is no longer under production and original, new spare parts are difficult to find.

According to police, most stolen cars end up in chop shops where they are quickly stripped for parts. Chop shops pose the most danger to cars and provide a thriving market for illegally sought car parts.

The spare parts of the stolen car may be worth more than the car, depending on the model and the availability of the spare parts in the market. All parts with the vehicle identification number, such as the engine or transmission, are either discarded or scrubbed. The most sought-after car parts are the tires and rims since they are easier to remove and re-sell.

Old car parts storage
Image Credit: Erdenebayar Bayansan, Pixabay

4. Keyless Cars Are the Easiest to Steal.


Unlike the popular belief that keyless cars offer more security against theft, they are easier to steal. Most of them operate using a signal that can be intercepted and hacked by car thieves to open the doors, start the ignition, and drive away. However, in this case, car theft can only happen if the car thieves are within a few meters of your car.

A relay device is an electronic equipment used to capture the signal and transmit it to the receiver of an accomplice standing next to the car. If your car keys have a push button, your car is at a lower risk of being hacked.

5. Silver Cars Are Stolen More Than Any Other Car Colour.


According to a study conducted by CCC Information Systems, silver cars are the most common and are the most likely to be stolen. White is the second most popular colour in cars prone to theft, with black coming in third.

Silver does not stand out and takes a while to be spotted by patrol compared to cars with brighter and bolder colours. There are also more silver cars on the road, and cars with popular colours have a higher resale value.

Silver Ford car
Image Credit: Mike B, Pexels

6. Only 1 in 20 Car Thefts Lead to an Arrest in the UK.


Most car thefts in the UK don’t lead to any conviction and only 5% of car thefts lead to a conviction by a judge. The statistics in some cities are even worse when you consider the number of unreported car thefts. According to the Midlands police, car theft is often linked to organized crime, and it is pretty hard to track down all the key players.

7. A Car Is Stolen in the UK Every 11 Minutes.

(What Car?)

Recent figures show that a car is stolen every 11 minutes, with 48,500 cars stolen in 2021. This is expected to rise by the end of 2022 when a car is stolen every 5 minutes. The rise in technology has made it easier to steal keyless cars than it used to be.

Man thief in black hood and gloves is trying to break into automobile without signaling alarm
Image Credit: Monstar Studio, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should you do when your car gets stolen?

The first thing you should do is call your local police station and give them the stolen car’s make, model, and registration.

How long are car thieves jailed?

Motor vehicle theft is classified as a summary-only offense, and the maximum sentence is only 6–12 months.

Which cities have the most car thefts in the UK?

The UK’s top three cities for car theft are Glasgow, Brighton, and Belfast.

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Car thieves will steal your car to source spare parts to sell in the black market or to second-hand dealers. The most common stolen car parts include the wheels, side mirrors, bumpers, and catalytic converters.

Luckily, there are several ways you can protect yourself from being a victim of car theft. Some popular ones include parking your vehicle in well-lit areas or near a security camera and only parking where you can hear or see your car being broken into.

Featured Image Credit By: fongbeerredhot, Shutterstock


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