SOME OF THE UK'S most popular cars are sitting ducks for thieves because of their keyless locking systems.
An investigation by Which? found a glut of cars including the Ford Fiesta and Focus, VW Golf and Nissan Qashqai are all at risk from technology designed to let thieves mimic the signal of the car's lock and gain access.
Worst still, any budding car thieves can buy the technology for about a tenner.
The report comes on the back of work done by the General German Automobile Club (ADAC), a German equivalent of the RAC or AA.
It found that of 237 cars it tested, a whopping 234 were vulnerable to these code replicators. In fact, the report shows that only the Vauxhall Corsa is safe, and that's only because keyless entry isn't an option.
Although levels of car crime have plummeted in the last 25 years, they are slightly up from their 2014 low. Ignoring the political climate and police numbers, one of the main reasons is likely to be the increased availability of these bits of kit that are sold innocently as a back-up to help people who've lost their keys.
There's two ways to look at all this. The ‘let's put this in perspective' viewpoint, which says that ‘yes, but you can also buy a set of skeleton keys for physical locks for about the same price'.
Then there's the moral outrage version that says, ‘And they want us to put these things on our houses?!', forgetting both point one, and the fact that hotel rooms have operated this way for years and nobody bats an eyelid.
It's not the first time that keyless cars have caused serious issues - a report from earlier this year suggests that the devices are actually causing carbon monoxide deaths, because people are forgetting to turn off the engine when they remove the digital key.
Speaking to Aunty Beeb, Mike Hawes, the head of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) disputed the claim, saying "New cars are more secure than ever, and the latest technology has helped bring down theft dramatically with, on average, less than 0.3% of the cars on our roads stolen."
In the 17/18 crime statistics, there 106,000 reports of unauthorised removal of a motor vehicle, the highest figure since 2009, but far lower than the bad old days of the 1990s.
If you want a secure keyless car, the best in test were the Discovery and Range Rover ranges and the Jaguar i-Pace. Petrolheads will note that they're all made by Jaguar-Land Rover, who appear, then to have found the golden formula. For now.
Not all it's Mac'd up to be
X marks the smart home
The lens said the better