CRIMINALS are using sophisticated technology to steal vehicles.

There has been an increase in the theft of key-less cars using methods which are carried out without the thief breaking into property.

Offenders have cloned wireless signals from car keys inside homes, enabling them to open the vehicle on the driveway, start the engine and drive away.

Neighbourhood Watch have reported incidents of related suspicious activity in residents’ driveways and have issued an urgent warning to drivers.

Community engagement officer, Willie Clark, said: “While keeping your keyless entry fobs out of sight or hidden is recommended, it does not stop it from being cloned.

“We are asking car owners to consider using a Faraday Wallet or signal blocking case for their keys. These block the signal from the fob, are relatively inexpensive and are widely available.

“It is important however to research the product you are buying and once purchased check that they effectively block the signal. Look for Secure By Design accreditation.

“You can also keep your spare key in a foil lined, metal tin with a lid. Again, check the effectiveness of this.

“Additional physical security devices, such as strong mechanical steering locks, driveway posts, wheel clamps and trackers are also effective in protecting vehicles from thieves.

“If you have a vehicle that is not keyless, it would be advisable to park this in front of the keyless vehicle.”

East Ayrshire Police say that vehicle owners should be vigilant at all times.

A spokesman said: “Contact your dealer and check if your vehicle has any outstanding software updates, which may improve security

“We also urge people to report any suspicious activity to us on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously at 0800 555 111.”