DRIVERS of Ford cars in the West Midlands are the most likely to have their cars stolen, figures from the Police and Crime Commissioner have revealed.

David Jamieson, Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, has named the 20 worst performing manufacturers whose vehicles are most at risk of being stolen, based on crime stats from the region.

Statistics show that Fords are the most popular car amongst thieves so far in 2019. The number of those stolen has risen from 489 in 2015 to 1,557 so far this year.

The level of thefts is said to be 'disproportionately high' even when Fords' popularity in the region is taken into account.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “I’ve been saying for a long time now that manufacturers have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to vehicle security.

“It’s a disgrace that buyers are being sold cars with 19th century levels of protection. The progress which car manufacturers are taking to prevent keyless thefts is far too slow.

“So far this year we have had 5,527 cars stolen. That’s over double the entire amount stolen in 2015."

Experts within West Midlands Police say that whilst keyless technology has made life more convenient for the motorist, it is also making stealing vehicles more convenient for criminals.

Keyless cars are increasingly being targeted by organised gangs who are taking advantage of weaknesses in vehicle security systems. Once stolen the vehicles are often shipped abroad or cut up and sold for parts in so called 'chop shops'.

The PCC’s data also reveals 432 Audi’s have been stolen so far this year, compared to 199 in 2015.

Similarly, Mercedes has also seen an increase in theft, rising from 114 in 2015 to 529 so far this year.

Mr Jamieson added: “Last year, I started a national campaign to get car makers and the Government to take steps to combat theft.

“As well as developing technology to protect new vehicles, I believe car makers should take responsibility for providing free legacy updates for owners of older cars.

“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 seconds.

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

“These criminals are not only taking what doesn’t belong to them, but putting lives at risk.”

The statistics supplied to the Commissioner by West Midlands Police will continue to be published every six months until thefts return to the relatively low levels seen in 2015.

A spokesperson from Ford said: "Ford Motor Company takes vehicle security seriously and continuously invests in technology to deter theft of, and from, our vehicles. This year Ford introduced new security protection on the UK’s two top-selling cars in Fiesta and Focus – now available with keyless entry fobs at standard which block illegal hacking when not in use."

Simon Hurr, Ford security specialist, suggests safeguards such as checking for visual cues to confirm the car is double locked; to store 'key free' fobs in a suitable metal box or shielded pouch and for drivers with older cars to visit a Ford dealer for any updates needed.