With the UK set to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, the future of the motor trade industry really is electric, but that’s leading to a new type of crime – the theft of car charging cables.
Rubbish removal company Divert.co.uk say that you shouldn’t leave your electric charging cable outside your home, as scrap metal thieves have labelled them as must-have items.
“Car chargers are particularly appealing to thieves because they can be sold for up to £200 and they are selling them everywhere, eBay, Facebook, and to dodgy scrap dealers,” says company spokesman Mark Hall. “And they can be pretty costly and inconvenient for you to replace, so it’s best to keep it locked away from the crooks.”
Easy money for organised thieves
Unfortunately, metal theft is nothing new – and it seems that every new technological development brings with it a new type of crime.
While we are used to the copper in telephone cables and lead from church roofs being targeted by organised thieves, the metal in electric car chargers is becoming increasingly sought after by thieves looking to make quick money.
“With more people going green and choosing electric cars over petrol and diesel, there are more charging cables available for thieves to target,” says Divert.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall.
At the start of 2021, there are over 300,000 electric and hybrid vehicles on the road in the UK**, and plug-in cars accounted for one in ten of all cars sold in the UK in 2020.***
Although many electric vehicles have systems in place that lock the charger into position, allowing the owners to leave the car charging securely overnight or while they are shopping, these security measures aren’t always fool-proof.
Tesla owners have noticed this winter that the locking mechanism wouldn’t work due to the freezing weather, causing cables to become detached from their vehicles which made them easier to steal – which prompted the automakers to release a ‘cold weather improvements’ software update to counteract the problem.****
Hall: “This just goes to show that even the top-of-the-range models are still having teething problems with chargers, leaving them vulnerable to being stolen.
“And at £200 a pop, running off with a cable is easy money for any thief looking to strike it rich.”
What can you do to protect your electric car charger?
Charger cables are an expensive but essential accessory to replace and could cost you a small fortune if goes missing – so it’s in your best interest to prevent it from being taken by thieves.
If you’re concerned that your car charger could be stolen, Divert.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall has some ideas which could help secure your cable.
The simplest solution is to padlock the cable to your vehicle while charging it at home or out and about, similarly to how you would secure a bike with a bike lock.
Hall: “You should try and keep the charger locked when it’s not in use too, or even better would be to bring it inside and hide it in your garage.”
Speaking of which, another possibility, if you are charging your vehicle at home, is to powerup from while parked up inside your garage, out of sight from potential crooks.
But if you don’t have the option to charge inside, it’s best to park with the charging point nearest to your house, to keep the cable discreet to potential thieves driving by.
Hall: “Most charging cables available for public use are tethered to try and prevent people from making off with them, and you can purchase similar devices to be used at home.
“Because if it’s not bolted down or locked away – someone will try to pinch it.”