CAR thefts across Essex increased by more than 16 per cent in the space of a year, new figures have revealed.

Analysis of Government data on thefts of cars from police forces across the UK looked at the financial years in 2017/18 and 2018/19.

The data shows there were 4,216 thefts of cars from Essex in 2017/18 and 4,915 in 2018/19.

Across the county this equated to 699 more car thefts – an increase of 16.6 per cent.

The data did not include aggravated vehicle thefts.

Only seven police forces in England and Wales recorded fewer car thefts in 2018 than the previous year.

The data also means Essex Police was among the ten forces which had the biggest increase in car thefts.

Alex Buttle, director of Motorway, which analysed the figures, described it as “troubling” and suggested police forces were struggling to curb car crime.

“The 21st century thief isn’t using a hammer to smash a window and hotwire a car,” he said. “They’re armed with wireless transmitters, signal jammers and key programming devices.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Any crime is awful to experience but the figure quoted in this report represents just two offences per 1,000 people living in Essex meaning it remains rare.

“Our officers continue to work across the county using a mixture of covert and overt tactics to disrupt the theft and unauthorised taking of motor vehicles.

“Using a number of tactics including viewing CCTV, looking at ANPR footage, working closely with manufacturers and our Stolen Vehicles Intelligence Unit, we are often able to track vehicles that have been taken without consent.

“Any crime, including theft of vehicles, depends on the amount of evidence officers are able to gather. With technology becoming more intelligent and an increase in keyless car thefts, we continue to face new challenges in the ways these crimes are committed.”

“We would encourage any vehicle owners to take steps to increase the security of their vehicle where possible.”

For more information please visit