Inside the housing estate where residents’ pricey cars ‘are stolen every night’

A plague of car crime has forced homeowners into taking drastic measures – including fitting their driveways with removable bollards and using Faraday key boxes that prevent crooks from detecting signals.

The residents’ fightback comes as campaigners claim there are not enough police resources being thrown at the problem.

“Almost every day, there is an attempted break-in or car theft," said Jay Anadou, a councillor in the Old Warley ward of Oldbury, Sandwell, in the West Midlands, told Birmingham Live.

“It is rampant."

Although the borough has high levels of deprivation, Jay said the ward was one with 'middle-class' residents. Around the streets are pricey cars and well-kept front gardens and home exteriors.

He pulls out his phone to show a WhatsApp group in which residents alert each other to crime. On there is a black and white video of intruders at a home, targeting the owners’ car.

He believes there are not enough police patrols to deter car thieves or reassure residents that they can sleep safely, knowing their cars will not be stolen.

"It rests with the council and police," he said. "We need better community policing, it needs to be stepped up.”

Chris Jones, 48, who is also part of the WhatsApp group, said: “Virtually every day, someone has a car stolen.

“It has put people on tenterhooks. I want to see it moved away from our area – we feel we have done our bit.”

Chris said it was “scary” that he had to resort to such measures such as a Faraday box, and added: “Even then, you don't feel safe.”

Satinder Dunn, 59, said her neighbours and family had been targeted by thieves.

“We have had our car nearly taken. They got disturbed, the three of them,” she said.

“One of our neighbours, they have been burgled. They got through the door and smashed the door. It is happening every day.

"At our daughter's house, her partner's car was stolen and his van got stolen. This is happening all the time now.”

Jay, the councillor, said: “If you look at the ward, it is fairly well off. We have professional and middle-class [people] living in the ward. Old Warley has never experienced this rise in anti-social behaviour before.”

West Midlands police said the region had seen a 4 percent reduction in car crime over the past year. As it continues to tackle the problem, it said it had made 119 arrests for car crime in October alone.

Meanwhile, it said it had closed more than 100 chop shops – where stolen cars are broken down for parts – over the past 18 months.

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