THIEVES got a taste of their own medicine after a driver 'stole' back their own car using a little known trick.
Jo Coombs from Battersea woke up one morning to find her Land Rover Discovery was gone and set about trying to get it back.
But after a chat with the police resulted in a crime number and little else, she quickly realised she could get the car back herself using her smartphone.
Jo said: "My Land Rover Discovery Sport was parked in my usual spot; a private car park protected by large black gates locked and controlled by a key code.
"I’ve always assumed it was safe there. And when other similar cars were stolen on the street, I ignored recommendations to get a steering lock.
"It’s well known that Land Rover and Range Rover keyless entry cars are easy to steal. But you never think it’s going to happen to you. Or I stupidly thought it wouldn’t.
"I immediately called the police. They took my details, gave me a crime reference number and left me feeling like that was it. Yet another Land Rover vehicle gone for good."
However, it wasn't until Jo phoned in the theft to her insurance company that she realised things were looking up.
"A couple of years ago I switched insurance to By Miles. An insurance product where you only pay for the miles you drive.
"It turned out to be a very good decision when lockdown came and we couldn’t drive anywhere.
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"Turns out there’s a much bigger benefit."
Jo realised her app-based insurance policy comes with a GPS tracker that calculates the miles you drive to invoice you each month.
It doesn't assess your driving style, just your distances and you can track all your drives via an app on your smartphone.
"I could see that my car was taken at 04:34, driven a mile away. Parked for 40 minutes. Driven again another mile. Parked.
"This continued a few times until eventually it was parked 1.9 miles from home. And it hadn’t moved since.
"I called the police again. They told me to get my keys and go and reclaim my car. I had thought they would go, but no apparently it was quicker if I did.
"I got to the street indicated on the app not really expecting to find my car. Tucked around the corner, under a large tree was a blue Discovery Sport. I got closer, the number plates didn’t match mine, and it had a smashed wing mirror.
"It did however open when I used my keys.
"The engine started, my number plates were inside the car, and apart from the wing mirror, some other minor scrapes, cleaned out glove & door compartments and stinking of cigarettes it was fine."
After a worrying wait for the police to arrive in fear of the thieves coming back, Jo was finally reunited with her car.
"The police arrived about 30 minutes later. They checked the car. Ran the plates that were on my car - they were for another Blue Discovery Sport (not reported stolen).
"They were even branded with the dealer Lookers Landrover, the same as mine! "
After swapping her plates back Jo drove straight to Halfords and bought a steering lock.
"Lesson number one - buy & use a steering lock especially if you have a keyless entry car.
"They say you only realise the value of your insurance and discover whether the company you chose is any good when you claim on it. By Miles has already proven its value to me."