WEST Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has gone on the offensive to cut car crime.

Mr Jamieson says he is angry about how easily crooks can get into high-tech vehicles which use keyless technology.

He is calling on car makers to improve security and plans to publish data on which cars are stolen most frequently.

Mr Jamieson said: ""It is no longer a secret that most manufacturers have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to vehicle security.

"As keyless technology has grown in popularity more and more cars have vanished from driveways as their owners sleep. Some vehicles are being stolen by criminals in less than a minute.

"The data I am publishing will allow consumers to see how secure the cars they are buying really are."

Fords are the most popular car amongst midlands thieves, the number of those stolen has risen fivefold in just three years from 489 in 2015 to 2,438 in 2018.

While the commissioner accepts Fords are the most popular vehicle in the region, he says the figure is still disproportionally high.

Data also reveals that Audi and BMW have both seen more than a threefold increase in the theft of their vehicles in our region.

Thieves use relay boxes to detect a signal from a fob inside people's homes and boost it to gain access to the car they want to steal.

Shocking video shows how crooks use a relay system to steal a keyless car from its owner's drive

Experts recommend car owners place keyless fobs in a metal box or pouch designed to block the signal, this prevents the relay equipment from boosting it to the target car.

Mark Silvester, from the West Midlands Police crime reduction team, said: "To protect against this type of theft, owners can use an additional tested and Thatcham-approved steering lock to cover the entire steering wheel.

"We also recommend Thatcham-approved tracking solutions fitted to the vehicle.

"It is always worth speaking to your main dealer, to ensure that your car has had all the latest software updates and talk through security concerns with them."

Midlands car maker Jaguar Land Rover gets credit for tackling the problem.

Consumer magazine Which? recently reported that JLR’s Discovery, Range Rover and Jaguar i-Pace vehicles were the only cars found to be completely secure out of 237 models tested. The tests involved attempts to trick the keyless cars into thinking its key was closer than it really was, enabling thieves to unlock and or start the car.

Mr Jamieson added: “I am pleased to see that local firm JLR are tackling the problem head on. It is an example to the rest of the industry.

"West Midlands Police know I expect it to do more too. However, in recent months the force has netted 1,000 suspects and recovered hundreds of vehicles.

“This is vital work, but often very dangerous. These criminals are not only taking what doesn’t belong to them, but putting lives at risk.”