Drivers of keyless cars who live or work in South Derbyshire are being offered a free nifty gadget to stop thieves from breaking into their cars.
It comes after a series of raids in the area – and across the country – with thieves using hi tech ways of replicating the signal from a key to open a keyless car.
The free ‘Faraday’ bags are being offered to owners of cars with keyless entry and ignition systems in a bid to stop the number of cars being stolen from their drives.
The keys emit a signal to open the car and replace the need for a key having to be be put a door lock.
The bag, invented by Michael Faraday, is used to store such keys and prevents signals passing through to a key while they are not in use which thieves then use to unlock cars and steal.
Nationally there has been a marked increase in the theft of keyless cars, with criminals using what is called a relay system to get into vehicles and then start them without needing to even break into them.
There have been several thefts in South Derbyshire too.
Relay theft see two crooks working together. One stands near to where the key is inside the house.
The signal emitted by the key can pass through brick, wood and glass, which means thieves can pick up the signal using relay equipment that can be bought on the internet.
They amplify the key’s signal to a second box near the car. This tricks the car into thinking the key is nearby, so it unlocks and can be driven away.
To prevent this, keys can be stored in the bags, said a spokesman.
Now the Safer South Derbyshire Partnership has bought a supply of Faraday bags which officers are offering for free to owners of cars with keyless entry and ignition systems in the Swadlincote area, while stocks last.
The partnership is working with the police who will contact victims of this type of car theft to offer them one of the bags.
Drivers are also welcome to collect one of the bags from South Derbyshire District Council’s offices, in Civic Way, Swadlincote. To receive one they simply need to show their keyless ‘key fob’ at reception. They will be handed out on a first come, first served basis.
Anyone who lives outside the Swadlincote area or struggles to get to the offices during opening hours can request one from their local Police Safer Neighbourhood Team by emailing email@example.com
Councillor Martyn Ford, chairman of the Safer South Derbyshire Partnership, said: “The bags are a simple but effective way of preventing this specific offence and we hope drivers of keyless cars in South Derbyshire take advantage of this offer.
“Anyone getting a new car at the beginning of September should be aware of the relay system if they are having a keyless vehicle for the first time.”
As well as using a signal-blocking bag in which to store their key fob, Derbyshire Police advise that as a back-up, drivers of keyless cars should also consider purchasing a steering lock for their vehicle.