Warning as 'skeleton keys' used in Nottinghamshire vehicle thefts

Police investigating the theft of Ford Transits using a skeleton key are warning owners to consider buying additional security to protect their vehicles.

Sunday, 30th May 2021, 9:28 am

Following a recent warrant at a farm in the Rushcliffe area of the county in April, officers seized a Ford Tibbe lock pick, which are typically used by locksmiths.

It was clear from the scene that Ford Transit and Ford Ranger vehicles were targeted and a skeleton combination key device was found next to a dismantled car.

The tools, which are readily available online, are used to gain access to certain makes of vehicles.

A skeleton key used in one of the thefts.

The warning comes after proactive policing work as part of Operation Sahara which cracks down on criminals who commit crimes in rural areas and steal off-road vehicles from outbuildings, farms and businesses in Nottinghamshire.

Officers are now urging Ford drivers to be vigilant and take extra precautions.

Neighbourhood inspector Craig Berry said: "There has been an ongoing problem with overnight thefts in and around the rural villages across Rushcliffe.

“Following the warrant earlier this year, we found a skeleton key on the floor next to the targeted cars. We would ask Ford owners to consider adding additional security such as steering locks.

“The key enables criminals to break into vehicles at will and we know that devices have been used across the country in similar incidents.

"Although tradespeople’s vans weren’t targeted in this incident, we would warn them to always remove valuable power tools from vehicles at night and to also consider investing in after-purchase locks.

"The skeleton keys are legitimate locksmith tools and people often buy them online as they are so easy to purchase.”

Officers are continuing with their investigation following the searches after two people were arrested on suspicion of a theft of a motor vehicle.

They have since been released under investigation.

Vehicle owners looking to avoid these types of break-ins should keep the following in mind

- Park your vehicle in a busy area when you can, and within sight of a CCTV camera for added protection.

- Whenever possible, store your valuables and tools away from your vehicle.

- To help with recovery, register your tools on the Immobile register, and mark them so they’re easily identifiable.

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