Beware The Car-Key Jammers
Police have issued a warning
that some recent thefts from vehicles which have taken place in 3 Berkshire service stations have
involved the use of radio jammers.
Thames Valley Police have
said that thefts of items from vehicles at the Chieveley, Reading and Membury services on the M4
have involved the use of radio jamming devices. These devices can be bought cheaply online, the
sales of which are likely to be difficult to trace due the fact that many sellers of these items are
believed to be unscrupulous or have links to crime.
Although there appears to be no clear proof, police believe that this is the most likely
explanation because, in 14 cases, there have been obvious signs of a
The fact that lorries, vans and cars
have been successfully targeted also suggests that jammers rather than keys or similar methods were
At Chieveley Services for example,
thieves took tools, a suitcase and a laptop. At Membury, it was luggage, wallets and cash were
stolen while at Reading Services 3 high end vehicles were targeted. All attacks are thought to have
involved the use of jammers.
How Could The
Jammers Have Be Used?
As the name suggests,
radio jammers interrupt and interfere with radio signals.
Police therefore believe that the thieves were able to take up a remote position in the car
park, far enough away from their targets and other drivers to not be observed, but close enough to
be able to operate the jammer as drivers were pressing the ‘lock’ button on their key fobs. A radio
jamming signal can prevent the car doors from locking and without a manual check by the driver they
are therefore left unlocked until the driver returns.
Service Station Car Parks Perfect Target
Service station car parks are thought to be particularly attractive to thieves using this
method because they are busy and have a fast turnaround of transient users who are unlikely to know
or to notice who is the owner of a specific vehicle. It is also the case that service station users
are more likely to have more valuable items in their vehicles e.g. holiday and work-related
Problems With Insurance Claims
There are concerns that because there
was no forced entry, victims of these crimes may have difficulty with their insurance
What Does This Mean For Your
This news is of course very
significant to business travellers using the M4, using any other UK motorways, or indeed using
public car parks.
Additionally, if you use a laptop or mobile device with sensitive data (e.g. business data) consider encrypting the contents and of course always lock them with a robust password.