You'll be hearing a lot about Brian and why he's on the bus if you listen to Capital Radio this autumn, as Brighouse-based Avocet Hardware has launched a hard-hitting national radio advertising campaign aimed at drawing attention to the ease with which cars are being stolen from driveways across the country - and highlighting just how easy it is to prevent it.
Clive Lloyd, managing director of Avocet Hardware, said: "Car thefts are significantly lower than they were twenty years ago, but the fact they are now on the rise demonstrate that thieves have found a way to circumvent the in-car technology that played such an important role in their decline in the first place."
"Today, newspaper report after newspaper report tells the same story - vehicles are being stolen from driveways following break-ins where the only things stolen are the car keys. Meaning the advanced nature of the car and its security technology doesn't matter a jot."
"And when you dig deeper into these stories you'll find, more often than not, that the break-in was achieved through lock-snapping."
Lock-snapping is a form of forced entry that has grown in popularity in recent years. It affects Euro cylinder locks that are fitted, as standard, in all uPVC and double glazed doors, and can be carried out quickly and quietly with nothing more complicated than a pair of standard pliers. There are though snap-secure locks available, which have been developed specifically to prevent lock-snap attacks. Those carrying a BSI kitemark and its TS007 3-star rating AND the Master Locksmith Association's Sold Secure SS312 Diamond rating are accepted as the most reliable in keeping burglars out and car keys safely out of their reach.
Avocet praised the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which joined forces with the Government, police and insurance bodies earlier this year, to try and understand the nature of modern day car theft and develop solutions to tackle it. The aim of the SMMT-led campaign being to inform vehicle owners about the hidden dangers and the steps they can take to secure their vehicles.
"We applaud SMMT, and everyone else involved in this campaign, but its guidelines for safeguarding your car fail to mention the risk of cars being stolen as a result of lock-snapping," continued Clive.
"It's something that's happening everywhere and to everyone. Footballer Darren Bent was a recent victim, while if you ask friends, families and neighbours, it's ever more likely they too will know someone it's happened to."
"Our intention is to reverse this trend - and we feel that by simply installing a proven snap-secure lock on your uPVC and double glazed doors a major step towards that goal will be achieved."
Avocet sells one of the UK's most secure Euro-cylinder locks. ABS was the first lock in the country to have both SS312 Diamond accreditation and a TS007 3-star rating. It was fitted in over 10,000 homes by West Yorkshire Police as part of a crime prevention programme that resulted in a 35 per cent drop in burglaries in just one year. It has also never been snapped once fitted in any home in the UK.
The SMMT campaign provided a further ten means of safeguarding your car.
1. Think about who you leave your vehicle keys with. Treat them as you do your house keys - do you know the person you are leaving your keys with? Do you trust them?
4. Check that your vehicle is locked before leaving it. Listen for the locking noise, watch for the lights to flash or mirrors to fold, or simply pull the door handle. It might sound unnecessary, but thieves can sometimes block the signal between your key fob and your vehicle: so although you've pushed the button, it may not have locked the vehicle.
5. Think about where you leave your spare key. Don't leave it in your vehicle. Know how many spares you have and where they are kept.
6. Check that you haven't left valuables on display in your vehicle. We all know that this can attract opportunist thieves.
7. Check that the vehicle windows are closed, even if you are only leaving it for a few minutes. Open windows make it all the easier for thieves to gain access. 8. Think about where you keep your keys at home. Keep them well away from the door or windows and out of sight. For additional security for electronic key entry systems, you may wish to consider storing them in a tin container to block any attempt by thieves to hack into the electronic signal between the key fob and your vehicle.
9. Check that your alarm or immobiliser is enabled when you leave your car. A simple check could save considerable expense and inconvenience later.
10. Check whether your vehicle has an alarm or immobiliser. If it doesn't think about buying an aftermarket alarm, steering wheel lock or other locking device. These are proven to deter thieves.
"Car theft is by and large an opportunistic crime - by following the points in the SMMT list and installing a snap-secure Euro cylinder lock like ABS on the relevant doors then everybody is doing their bit to cut these opportunities down to a minimum."
You can following SMMT on Twitter at twitter.com/SMMT
Listen to the first advert in Avocet's radio advertising campaign on SoundCloud