New research has detailed the models that car thieves most want to steal and sell on, or dispose of for spare parts.
The report by vehicle protection company AX suggests high-end brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes are most commonly targeted by thieves, and are often sold for much less than their market value.
The study suggests, for example, that a £36,000 Mercedes AMG will sell for a maximum of £3,000, while a £100,000 Range Rover might sell for just £2,000.
AX reports that stolen cars are sold to a network of criminals who find ways to export the cars, although sometimes the vehicles are simply dismantled and their parts sold on.
AX Director of Services, Neil Thomas said: The list is quite shocking, despite my 30 years working in the police force. We know how the criminals operate but, with the UK theft figures in mind, it’s a sharp reminder of the problem car owners and the industry faces.
“Rather than the cars that are stolen in the UK, this list represents the criminals’ wish list of preferred targets.
“A typical, current Ford Fiesta, for example, would change hands for little more than £200.”
According to data from the Home Office, car thefts nationwide have increased substantially in recent years, with 111,999 vehicles stolen in 2017/28, compared to just over 75,999 in 2013/14.
It represents a 49 per cent increase in car thefts in five years.
Recently, motor insurer Direct Line has also reported a substantial increase in car thefts, with a year-on-year increase of 117 percent in the UK between January and October.
Over the last few years criminals have been using more sophisticated methods to steal cars, including copying vehicle codes and unlocking cars remotely.
This form of "keyless car theft" is made possible by the use of small gadgets.
AX's Director of Services, Neil Thomas, warned: “Business and private owners alike are affected by the increase in thefts, so it’s paramount to take precautions to avoid being targeted, or ensure vehicles have robust covert technology so that they can be recovered.
“Most tracking devices are simply removed after being stolen.”
Neil Thomas added: “The sheer volume of thefts is practically a car theft epidemic and is enabling criminals to purchase costly technology which then fuels even more car crime.”