Vehicle thefts from rental customers in Britain reached their highest level for six years last year, according to new figures from British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).

Its annual report has revealed thieves are targeting car keys in order to bypass security systems. In 2001, BVRLA member losses rose 43 per cent with 1,636 vehicles stolen compared to 1,303 in 2000.

The total cost of thefts in 2001 was said to be £8.7 million.

By Jonathan Thomson

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