A WARNING has been issued to motorists with 'keyless' cars after two thefts in the Appleton area in the past week.

Thieves are cloning wireless key signals from car keys left inside homes, enabling them to open the vehicle on the driveway, start the engine and drive away without breaking into homes to steal the fobs.

The warning also follows 11 cars being stolen in St Helens over a 10-day period.

Most of the thefts in St Helens happened overnight and were Ford vehicles.

A spokesman for Appleton Police said: "There has been a rise in 'keyless' car thefts recently with two reported locally just this week.

"Thieves are using transmitters and amplifiers readily available on the internet allowing them to break into cars silently in under a minute.

"One criminal then stands by the car with the transmitter, while a second waves the amplifier near the house the car is parked outside.

"If the car’s fob is close enough, the amplifier will detect its signal - through doors, walls and windows - amplify it, and send it to the accomplice’s transmitter.

"The transmitter then effectively becomes the key, ‘tricking’ the car into thinking the real key is nearby.

"The thieves are able to open the car, push the start button and drive away."

How hackers are stealing keyless cars

Warrington Guardian:

Pic credit: Appleton Police

What you can do to stop your car from being stolen

Cheshire Police are advising people with keyless cars to:

  • Use mechanical steering locks
  • Store keys away from doors or windows
  • Store keys in a Faraday container or metal tin

Other tips for keyless car owners include:

  • Contact your dealer and check if your vehicle has any outstanding software updates, which may improve security
  • Check if the keyless fob can be turned off/on, your dealer can confirm and advise how to do this
  • Be vigilant, and report any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood to the police