A surge in reports of car cannibalisation across the UK has prompted stolen vehicle recovery expert, Tracker Network UK to warn drivers of the risk of attack. As the price of a basket of common parts spirals by 35 per cent, organised crime gangs are now stripping vehicles for parts wherever they are parked. This technique is fast, eliminates the need for criminals to transport or store vehicles, and is hard to protect against.

“New parts production has been hit in recent years, from the effects of the pandemic through to the war in Ukraine, impacting parts availability and cost.  This, coupled with the cost-of-living crisis, has seen demand grow for quality second-hand parts leading to this latest car crime spate,” explains Clive Wain of Tracker. “Even basic parts prices like discs, brake pads and wiper blades have shot up, so car cannibalisation can be a very lucrative market for criminals.”

 Tracker’s top tips for avoid car cannibals

Stay in the light: Don’t park in unlit areas, as darkness gives thieves valuable cover. If the place where you park at home is unlit, install motion-activated security lights to ensure thieves will be visible if they approach your car.

Invest in a dashcam or visible CCTV: Even a video doorbell that covers the car while parked on the drive will deter thieves as their actions will be recorded. Many dashcams include a parking mode feature to begin recording in the event of an impact or movement while the ignition is off.

Mark parts: Etch parts that can be stolen with the vehicle's registration plate. Although it’s unlikely that stolen parts will be recovered, visible markings could actually deter a thief from stealing components.

Use an alarm: Car alarms may not stop a thief stealing parts, or damaging the vehicle, but should stop them hanging around to remove multiple parts. If your car does not already have an alarm fitted, you can have one fitted. It should detect movement, not just the doors being opened or windows smashed, in case the vehicle is lifted to allow access to wheels or parts under the vehicle.

Make life difficult: Fit security posts or a substantial gate if parking on your drive, physical barriers will make thieves think twice.

Get police protection: Invest in a stolen vehicle recovery solution (SVR) that will locate and return your vehicle to you before thieves can dismantle it.