Thieves have targeted Defenders for several years. With childishly basic security compared to other Land Rover models combined with a vast and voracious market for used parts, stolen Defenders have fed a lucrative black market for years. Newer model Defenders are still vulnerable. Readily available devices can bypass the immobiliser of newer versions in a matter of seconds, with the vast majority of Defenders whisked away without the keys.
The most popular areas for stealing Defenders appears to be West Mercia, Shropshire and Cornwall and the most popular items being removed from vehicles are body panels, doors, headlights and bonnets, which often 'disappear' in the night. Very few of the Land Rover Defenders stolen have been recovered and the well-supported belief is that the stolen vehicles are being broken down for parts or leaving the country via shipping containers.
However, there is plenty you can do to protect your precious Defender from determined thieves and casual opportunists alike. From removing smaller critical parts of the engine, such as your rotor arm or disconnecting the distributor cap, or even the battery, can help deter thieves with little mechanical knowledge.
Other options include: install in-car security devices that disable the pedals or steering locks that prevent your steering wheel from being turned. Immobilisers and alarms can be fitted with the added advantage of potentially reducing your insurance premium.
Sadly, a thief will always get your car if given the time. The key is to provide enough off-putting hassles and time consuming anti-theft deterrents in his way so that thieves can’t afford to risk it.
For a further in-depth look at keeping your Landy safe, check out the March 2015 issue of LRO.