Almost 48,500 vehicles were recorded by police as stolen last year.

This is up from 46,800 in 2020, according to data held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Most popular targets are best selling motors such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.

But the stats also show that criminals are going to extraordinary lengths to target high-end Range Rovers and other premium marques. These also include BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

1000 cars a week

Leasing comparison site LeaseLoco gathered the data via a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA. It shows that between 1 January and 31 December 2021, some 48,493 motors were reported to police as stolen.

This is a three per cent increase on 2020 and means that on average, 133 cars are stolen every day in Britain, or 933 per week. Despite the marginal year-on-year rise, motor thefts are still not as high as they were before the pandemic. The DVLA figures show a high of 58,642 in 2019, a fifth higher than last year.

Topping the list of most stolen cars is the Ford Fiesta, with 3,909 cases reported to police. Being one of the most popular new cars on the road, it is perhaps unsurprising to see such a common motor at the peak of the theft charts.

Top of the swag

Other cars prominently placed in the top 10 list are proof that criminals are targeting high-end models too. Second spot belongs to Range Rover, which is significantly less common than a modest Fiesta – though far more valuable. There were 3,754 reported cases of Land Rover SUVs being stolen last year.

It is further evidence of criminal gangs continuing to steal high-value, premium cars with keyless technology. This has been a growing problem in recent years. While common cars including the Ford Focus (1,912), Volkswagen Golf (1,755) and Vauxhall’s Corsa (1,218) and Astra (1,096) .

Premium models include Mercedes-Benz C-Class (1,474) and E-Class (818), BMW 3 Series (1,464) and Land Rover Discovery (1,260). Another report, by specialist vehicle security product provider Tracker, had the Range Rover Sport at its number one spot in a “stolen and recovered” league table in 2021, for the third consecutive year.

Buyer beware

Theft is of obvious concern to owners who have their cars stolen. However, the rising number of cases also poses a risk to innocent car buyers. James Fairclough, chief executive at AA Cars, says consumers who inadvertently buy stolen vehicles face “disastrous” consequences. Hoodwinked buyers are likely to lose both the vehicle and the money they paid for it.

“The risk is real – an average of 30 stolen vehicles are identified every day by used car history checks,” Mr Fairclough said.

“Before buying a second-hand car, always carry out an online history check to confirm the mileage, the number of previous owners and whether the car has been stolen, been in an accident or written off.”

Most stolen car models in Britain

Car types and the number of them stolen:

Ford Fiesta 3,909
Land Rover Range Rover 3,754
Ford Focus 1,912
VW Golf 1,755
Mercedes-Benz C-Class 1,474
BMW 3 Series 1,464
Land Rover Discovery 1,260
Vauxhall Corsa 1,218
Vauxhall Astra 1,096
Mercedes-Benz E-Class 818



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