The UK’s Vehicle-Theft Hotspots Revealed

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice The UK’s Vehicle-Theft Hotspots Revealed

Drivers in East Sussex are the most likely to report car theft than motorists anywhere else in the UK, show car insurance records.

The South East of England earned the dubious honour of tallying more insurance claims for motor theft and theft of belongings from cars than other parts of the country over the last five years, based on more than 10 million insurance claims analyses by a leading comparison website.

Analysts from Money Supermarket found that the village of Winchelsea in East Sussex was home to the postcode with the highest number of theft-related claims in the country, with more than 4% of drivers having reported some kind of theft related to their vehicle since 2015.

Hot on the heels of the car-theft capital were Saltburn-by-sea and the Surrey village of Godstone, where 3% of resident policyholders had claimed to be victims of vehicle theft in the past five years.

It is quite a shock to see smaller rural villages snatching the top spots in the UK for car theft, whether its theft from the vehicle or of the vehicle itself. I’d expect to see bustling urban hot spots to be topping the list, but it seems English villages are not the idyllic locales we may think – at least not when it comes to car theft.

said Head of insurance at Money Supermarket, Andy Leadbetter

Out of the top 10 worst offenders, at least half are small towns or villages, mostly in the South East of the UK.

However, plenty of city centres join the rural hotspots on the insurance website’s list of the twenty postcodes in which drivers are most likely to make a claim.

Romford in Essex leads the urban pack, with 2.8% of drivers having claimed for theft.

It is closely followed by Leeds, Doncaster, Rotherham and Manchester, where between 2.6%- 2.75% of policyholders reported being victims of some form of car theft.

High Crime Rate in Parts of the Country

The high crime rate in parts of the country suggested by the data spells bad news for drivers living in these areas hoping to save on their insurance premiums.

This is because a higher incidence of theft pushes up the cost of insurance for policyholders.

On the other hand, drivers could be set to save if they live in an area which has relatively fewer claims.

Over the same time period, Money Supermarket identified the twenty postcodes where drivers were least likely to make a claim for theft on the vehicle insurance.

Only three cities made the top ten, including Perth and Inverness in Scotland, and Plymouth in the South West of England.

Incredibly, the combined rate for theft claims of all three cities did not come close to the 4% recorded for drivers in Winchelsea.

According to the data, the least likely place to have a vehicle robbed is Kirkwall, where fewer than 1 in 1800 vehicle owners claimed for theft in the last five years.

After Kirkwell came Inverness, Perth, Galashiels and Dumfries & Galloway.

Yet despite the evidence, the best way to protect against car theft may not necessarily involve relocating to the Scottish Borders, but rather simple vigilance and extra security.

Whether it’s a mobile phone left on display, a Sat Nav, or pricey alloy wheels, having items stolen from a securely locked vehicle is an awful experience. My advice to motorists is to always be alert when it comes to the security of your vehicle; parking safely, for example, in a garage if possible. Improving the security of your vehicle may also be an option – fitting an alarm and using a steering wheel lock are efficient means to safeguard your car. As a final tip, it goes without saying not to leave valuables on display for opportunistic thieves

said Mr Leadbetter.

Full breakdown can be found here:

Postcode Area County Percentage
TN36 Winchelsea East Sussex 4.10%
TS13 Saltburn-by-the-sea Cleveland 3.15%
RH9 Godstone Surrey 3.02%
GF42 Treorchy Mid Glamorgan 2.89%
IG9 Buckhurst Hill Essex 2.82%
RM3 Romford Essex 2.80%
LS16 Leeds West Yorkshire 2.72%
DN12 Doncaster South Yorkshire 2.68%
SG3 Rotherham South Yorkshire 2.63%
SK1 Stockport Cheshire 2.61%
M25 Manchester Lancashire 2.60%
E8 Hackney London 2.58%
IV17 Alness Ross-shire 2.43%
SE21 Dulwich South East London 2.38%
WS8 Walsall Staffordshire 2.35%
B72 Sutton Coldfield Warwickshire 2.31%
NG11 Gotham Nottingham 2.29%
PH15 Aberfeldy Perthshire 2.27%
CM5 Ongar Essex 2.25%
L10 Liverpool Lancashire 2.23%


Money Savings Advice Author Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

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