Car theft tricks and how to avoid them

For anyone fearing their car might be stolen tonight, here's a sleep-easy statistic: while burglary has risen by 14%, vehicle-related theft, according to the British Crime Survey's latest findings, has dropped by 9%.

That's good then, but here's the nasty twist: since cars are becoming such tough nuts to crack, the AA is warning that 53 household in England and Wales are broken into every day just to obtain your car keys. And online insurers swiftcover.com has unearthed the disturbing truth that, even if headline car-crime figures are falling, the trend for auto theft that involves burglary or assault is rising: in 2008, it stood at 74% of all car thefts, while in 2009 the figure rose to 80% and, last year, surged again - to a staggering 84%.

Short of buying a half-starved insomniac Rottweiler, the issue of key theft is a thumping headache for insurers and car owners alike. But as some sort of perverse reassurance, swiftcover.com has also identified a top-10 trend for sneaky means by which thieves are now procuring your precious metal - often with no need to swipe your fob at all.

Some of the latest stunts are ingenious, to say the least, while others are pretty damn obvious. All of these stunts, however, act as an alert to see you don't fall into the same felonious trap. Enjoy, but don't say we didn't warn you...