Since production of the Land Rover Defender ceased on January 29, 2016, thefts of the model have skyrocketed in the UK, according to figures released by insurance company NFU Mutual.
Autocar.co.uk broke the news yesterday with claims the number of stolen cars has increased by as much as 69% in North Hampshire alone. It is believed this is due to the model’s rising value, rather than the lack of supply.
The news shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as the value of the Defender has dramatically increased following the end of the model’s production – the two millionth car sold for £400,000 (AU$750,000 approx.) in December 2015.
It’s understood a great number of the stolen rigs are being shipped and sold abroad, while the rising price of parts has seen a number of Defenders stripped down.
The thieves appear to be high-tech criminals with particular experience at overriding the Defender’s security systems.
Owners are urged to upgrade their Defenders defences with a transponder-based security marking system and tracker device. It’s also advised to etch all windows with the vehicle identification number.
The situation doesn’t appear to be as dire in Australia. Despite seeing similar price rises since Defender production ceased, there have been no reports of an increase in theft on local soil.