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Over 4,000 second-hand imported cars stolen last year

There has been an increase in the theft of second-hand imported cars in Ireland, with over 4,000 reported stolen last year, according to new figures from An Garda Síochána.

This represents a 52 per cent increase on 2021 and a 17 per cent rise on 2019 – the last pre-pandemic year for figures.

Gardaí have warned that the rise in thefts is driven by the theft of second-hand imported cars from outside of the European market, “which may be due to the lack of security features in the most commonly stolen imported vehicles”.

They say that many second-hand car imports do not have a fully fitted car alarm system or are without a fitted immobiliser, making them vulnerable to hot-wiring.

Gardaí also warn that if the model has a keyless ignition it has proven possible to pick up a signal from the key fob from within the house where it is parked.

Sergeant Mark Bolger, Garda national crime prevention office, said car buyers and owners can take actions to decrease the risk of the theft of their vehicle.

“Cars imported from international markets are not automatically manufactured with the same security features as cars manufactured for the European market.

“We urge buyers and owners of vehicles to confirm the security features of import vehicles, especially to check if there is an in-built immobiliser and to consider additional security options,” he advised.