In the past 5 years, 530 Defenders have been stolen in West Yorkshire alone; demand for the popular off-roader has skyrocketed since production ceased last year

Thefts of Land Rover Defenders are on the rise as the model and its parts become in higher demand worldwide.

With the model having ceased production in January last year, appetite and values for the popular off-roader are soaring, according to a number of police authorities which are warning owners to take precautions.

Andy Barr, head of police liaison at car-tracking firm Tracker said: “We have seen an increase in Defender thefts recently. We think it’s due to a lack in availability of the vehicle.

“They are often exported fully assembled or as parts - and these sorts of vehicles can be disassembled very quickly.”

He added: “A lot of these thieves are in organised gangs who are stealing Defenders to order.”

West Yorkshire Police is the latest authority to report a rise in stolen Defenders, confirming that 530 had been taken in the area in the last five years. Last year, 120 were taken. Of that 530, just 139 have been recovered.

Defender owners have been warned to avoid sharing information on social media. Talking to the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, a police spokesman said: “Social media is brilliant for finding out information about events, sourcing hints, tips and advice as well as connecting with other enthusiasts.

“However there can be a downside, with many people sharing their whereabouts on a regular basis. Whilst there is nothing wrong with sharing when you’re on holiday, for instance, it does let would-be car thieves know that our vehicles are unattended.”

Autocar first reported a rise in Defender thefts in April last year, after it was claimed that there had been a 69% increase in models being stolen in North Yorkshire following the end of production. According to these latest reports, the trend only seems to be intensifying as time goes on.

Last week, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) itself was targeted by thieves. Criminals stole an estimated £3 million worth of engines from its Solihull plant in a matter of minutes using a stolen heavy-goods vehicle, according to reports.

A JLR spokesman said: “We can confirm that we are working closely with West Midlands Police to investigate the theft of engines from the Solihull manufacturing plant. A reward is on offer to anyone who has information which leads to the successful recovery of these engines.

“It would be inappropriate for us to make any further comment while this investigation is ongoing.”

Read more about the Land Rover Defender:

Saying goodbye to the Land Rover Defender – an Autocar special

New Land Rover Defender will be brand's most high-tech car yet

New Land Rover Defender already testing on roads ahead of 2018 launch 

Our Verdict

Land Rover Defender
The chassis and body are hugely strong and should last a lifetime. The detailing, such as the interior trim, is dreadful

The Land Rover Defender is an institution and unbeatable off road, if crude on it

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Comments
5

6 February 2017
Let's face it, everything about this car is last century, including the ant-theft systems. They're just too easy to steal!

6 February 2017
"Become in higher demand"... - go to school, Rachel.

No manual - no fun

6 February 2017
You could upgrade it to an Ingenium engine, apparently plenty on the Black market after some guys drove out of Solihull with not 1 but 2 lorry loads of them recently (£3M worth) you couldn't make it up!

6 February 2017
So have insurance premiums gone up as well?

7 February 2017
40% increase to our premium this year! Which I suspect is more down to insurance companies taking advantage rather than a 40% increase in thefts?

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