A cheap new gadget could help drivers protect their car against thieves and stand a better chance of getting it back if it is stolen.
And the device will even let you listen in on thieves if you are unlucky enough to have your car pinched.
The £45 Streetwize tracker has been launched by automotive retailer Halfords to offer a cheap alternative to expensive vehicle tracking systems.
While most tracking systems require hard-wiring to your car and a paid-for subscription, the Streetwize tracker is subscription-free and just requires a sim card. It can be charged at home and hidden in the vehicle or wired permanently to the car’s battery.
Using GPS, the device can pinpoint a car’s location to within 10 metres and send a text message back to the owner’s phone.
The device can also alert car owners if their vehicle is moved or rocked and, using an inbuilt microphone, let you listen in to what’s happening inside the car.
Rising car thefts
Halfords says it has seen sales of car tracking technology rise rapidly this year amid rising fears over relay thefts, where criminals use cheap technology to steal cars with keyless entry systems.
Home Office figures show that vehicle thefts reached more than 110,000 in 2017/18 – up 10 per cent on the year before and a 50 per cent rise over the last five years.
And the Association of British Insurers says its members are now paying out £1 million a day to victims of vehicle theft.
Pavan Sondhi car security expert at Halfords said: “Installing a tracker may be one of the most reliable ways of protecting your vehicle. With gadgets like this you can now find cars as quickly as thieves steal them. We’ve seen sales of our locators soar in the last few weeks. As soon as a thief tampers with your motor you’ll know about it.”