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Thefts of electric car charging cables could be the next wave of car crime

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Cable concerns: Reports suggest criminals are now targeting the £200 leads used by EV owners to charge their vehicles

Concerns are growing that a new type of car crime could hit the streets of Britain, as thieves target the nation’s growing number of electric vehicle owners.

A number of reports have suggested that there has already been a spike in cases of EV drivers having their charging cables pinched – the leads used to plug into a wallbox, public device or the mains to replenish the batteries in their cars.

Crafty thieves are fully aware of their value – and the worth of the metals inside the cables. 

With many drivers leaving the leads unattended while they charge during the day and night or when they’re vehicles isn’t plugged in, criminals are snatching them and making away with the valuable cords that are worth around £200 each.

It comes as drivers of petrol cars continue to fall victim to the spate of catalytic converter thefts that have been spreading across the country in the last couple of years, which in worst cases are writing off perfectly good vehicles.

Rubbish removal company Divert.co.uk has warned that EV owners should not leave an electric charging cable outside their home, as they have become the new target of scrap metal thieves on the hunt for copper.

‘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,’ said 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.’

With half a million plug-in cars on Britain’s roads, criminals have more prey to target when pinching charging cables

Just last month the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced that there are now over half a million plug-in cars on Britain’s roads – either fully electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids.

With the Government set to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, the shift to electrification is predicted to gather pace at a dramatic rate over the course of the next decade.

Motor thefts down 15% in 2020 

Comparison site ComparetheMarket said in a report issued this week that 61,743 vehicles have been stolen over the last two years, though rates dropped by nearly 15 per cent in 2020 (28,454) while many of us were at home and able to watch over our cars due to the pandemic.

The remaining 33,289 were stolen in 2019, according to the figures from 26 police forces.

Overall, the West Midlands fell victim to the most crimes (11,506) over the last two years. However, it’s Birmingham West (3,105) that ranks top for the total number of offences, despite thefts in 2020 decreasing by nearly 21 per cent compared to 2019. 

Looking more closely at vehicle theft across the UK, further analysis shows an annual increase in keyless car theft, accounting for 93 per cent of all recorded thefts in 2020. 

The most stolen vehicles include the Range Rover and Land Rover, especially the Range Rover Sport, and Autobiography. The Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Evoque follow. 

In fact, in 2020 ComparetheMarket saw an increase in enquiries for the Range Rover Evoque by 11 per cent compared to 2019, whilst the Range Rover Sport saw an increase of 9 per cent, and the Land Rover Discovery at 7 per cent.

‘There are measures you can put in place to help reduce the chance of your car being stolen, but nothing can keep your vehicle 100 per cent secure,’ warns Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at the site. 

‘So you need to make sure you have an insurance policy that covers theft so you don’t end up out of pocket if a criminal strikes.’ 

This will offer up yet more targets for light-fingered criminals, who previously targeted copper in telephone cables and lead from church roofs to make an easy buck. 

And it’s charging cables – and the copper inside them – that are set to become the next easy prey for organised thieves. 

‘With more people going green and choosing electric cars over petrol and diesel, there are more charging cables available for thieves to target,’ said Hall. 

‘And at £200 a pop, running off with a cable is easy money for any thief looking to strike it rich.’ 

This week, the AA said damage and theft of charging cables is among the biggest security concerns among drivers when it comes to owning an EV.

More than two thirds (69 per cent) of a panel of 15,500 licence holders said they are worried about having charging leads tampered with, or nicked, when they are connected to a public chargepoint. 

It comes as thefts of catalytic converters have boomed in recent months.

The AA said in April that it had seen an ‘explosion’ in thefts of the emissions devices, which are fitted to petrol and petrol-hybrid vehicles to reduce their pollution.

The motoring group said its patrols had attended almost 4,000 cases last year where catalytic converters had been ripped from the underside of cars.

The vehicle recovery service said it was called to just 57 instances of broken down motors found to have had these devices stolen in 2017. 

That figure rose to 3,910 in 2020 – a leap of 6,760 per cent over just four years. 

Edmund King, president at the AA, said: ‘There is some growing concern that the theft of charging cables could become a new problem to run alongside catalytic converter theft.

‘However, rather than sending them for scrap, there seems to be a growing used cable market through online sites.’

Can someone steal an charging cable while it’s in use? 

Most of the latest electric vehicle models have locking systems in place that prevent the cable from being detached without the car being unlocked.

This is designed to allow owners to leave the car charging securely overnight or while they are shopping.

However, they’re not always entirely fool-proof. 

Older popular EVs, like the Nissan Leaf, are said to not have effective security measures to prevent the leads being disconnected by someone other than the owner, according to charge point installer, Brite.

Tesla has also been targeted by hackers who attempt to remotely access the vehicle to end the charging session so they can get away with the cables.

The US firm has also been forced to provide a ‘cold weather improvements’ software update after owners reported cases of the locking mechanism failing when temperatures dropped below freezing.

Edmund King, president of the AA, says the cables are being stolen by criminals for resale, with some having a value of over £200

Replacing a stolen charging cable can cost from anything between £125 to over £200. 

Edmund King told us the best way to protect untethered cables is to lock it away out of sight. 

‘It is fairly difficult to steal a cable when an EV is charging, and most public charging sites are in well-lit and populated areas,’ he said.   

‘There is some copper in the cables but my technical expert thinks they are worth more as a complete charging cable rather than for scrap metal.

‘We have seen trends like this in the past from lead on church roofs to metal in wire cables along the railway tracks. Let us hope this is just a blip and that drivers remember to lock the cable in the boot when they have finished charging which is exactly what I do now.’

AA launches EV insurance 

To provide assurance to prospective EV owners, the AA has launched EV insurance which provides cover for the top five insurance concerns raised by drivers.

These include:

1. Accidental damage, fire or theft of the car and personal cables when connected to a public chargepoint – 69%

2. Damage to the main drive battery – 65%

3. Accidental damage, fire or theft of the car and personal cables when connected to a homecharger – 65%

4. Damage to the charging cable – 48%

5. Protection if someone trips over the charging cable – 44%

CARS & MOTORING: ON TEST

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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Best of the Best shares tumble 30% despite tripling profits

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Shares in Best of the Best tumbled by around 30 per cent after the online competition company said it had seen a decline in customer interest recently, overshadowing its stellar annual results.

Best of the Best, which specialises in luxury sports car ‘raffles’ where people buy tickets hoping to win expensive automobiles, saw profits more than triple last year, its results show. 

Pre-tax profits rose to £14million in the year to the end of April, from £4.2million the year before, after revenues rose to £45.7million, from £17.8million.

Stellar performance: Best of the Best, which specialises in luxury sports car ‘raffles’ where people buy tickets hoping to win expensive automobile, saw profits triple last year

In light of the strong performance, the company hiked its final dividend to 5p per share from 3p, with investors also in line for a special dividend of 50p worth a total of £4.71million.  

But shares in the AIM listed company tumbled by more than 30 per cent at one point this morning. They were down by 27.8 per cent to £19 by midday on Wednesday. 

However, they still remain some 60 per cent higher than last year, and have seen their value jump by around 500 per cent over the past two years.

The massive drop comes as the company said it has seen ‘somewhat of a reduction’ in interest from customers since the lifting of lockdown restrictions in April when shops and restaurants reopened.

Chief executive William Hindmarch said: ‘We are closely monitoring this, but with our flexible model, growth strategy and plans for the year ahead, we expect customer engagement to return to normal levels before too long.’   

Best of the Best closed its last physical competition site at Birmingham airport in July 2019 after 20 years of leasing physical sites at airports and shopping centres across the country. 

These included Heathrow Airport, where its first physical site was located, as well as Gatwick, Edinburgh, Manchester and Dublin airports, and later on, Westfield Shopping Centre in London. 

Hindmarch said that with the benefit of hindsight, the online move was ‘opportune’, given the restrictions on travel that have been in place due to the pandemic. 

‘Having made the strategic decision to exit our predominantly airport-based retail estate and concentrate on a pure online strategy, we have been able to tailor our business, product and pricing specifically to a much more scalable, online only proposition,’ he added.  

BOTB was set up in 1999 and started to take off thanks to the power of social media

BOTB was set up by Hindmarch in 1999 and started to take off thanks to the power of social media. 

People taking part in the competition have to place a marker where they think a football was in a photograph before it was cleverly edited out.  

Its ‘Dream Car’ competition allows customers to buy tickets from £1.60 to win supercars like Jaguars and Tesla, while tickets for its ‘Midweek Car Competition’ start at just 80p.

Customers can also take part in ‘Weekly Lifestyle Competition’ to win luxury watches, motorbikes, holidays and other gadgets. 

Stellar rise: BOTB shares tumbled today, but they are still about 60% higher than last year and have risen by about 500% over the past two years

#fiveDealsWidget .dealItemTitle#mobile {display:none} #fiveDealsWidget {display:block; float:left; clear:both; max-width:636px; margin:0; padding:0; line-height:120%; font-size:12px} #fiveDealsWidget div, #fiveDealsWidget a {margin:0; padding:0; line-height:120%; text-decoration: none; font-family:Arial, Helvetica ,sans-serif} #fiveDealsWidget .widgetTitleBox {display:block; float:left; width:100%; background-color:#af1e1e; } #fiveDealsWidget .widgetTitle {color:#fff; text-transform: uppercase; font-size:18px; font-weight:bold; margin:6px 10px 4px 10px; } #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {float:left; display:block; width:124px; margin-right:4px; margin-top:5px; background-color: #e3e3e3; min-height:200px;} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {margin-right:0} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemTitle {display:block; margin:10px 5px; color:#000; font-weight:bold} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage, #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage img {float:left; display:block; margin:0; padding:0} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage {border:1px solid #ccc} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage img {width:100%; height:auto} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemdesc {float:left; display:block; color:#004db3; font-weight:bold; margin:5px;} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemRate {float:left; display:block; color:#000; margin:5px} #fiveDealsWidget .footerText a:hover{text-decoration: underline;} #fiveDealsWidget .footerSmall{font-size:10px; padding-top:10px;} @media (max-width: 635px) { #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {width:19%; margin-right:1%} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {width:20%} } @media (max-width: 560px) { #fiveDealsWidget #desktop {display:none;} #fiveDealsWidget #mobile {display:block!important} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {background-color: #fff; height:auto; min-height:auto} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {border-bottom:1px solid #ececec; margin-bottom:5px; padding-bottom:10px} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {border-bottom:0px solid #ececec; margin-bottom:5px; padding-bottom:0px} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem, #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {width:100%} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent, #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage {float:left; display:inline-block} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage {width:35%; margin-right:1%} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent {width:63%} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemTitle {margin: 0px 5px 5px; font-size:16px} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent .dealItemdesc, #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent .dealItemRate {clear:both} }

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ONS: Average UK house price dropped £5k in April but boom isn’t over

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House prices dipped in April as buyers lowered their offers in anticipation of the stamp duty holiday ending, official figures have shown.  

The average property value fell 1.9 per cent between March and April according to the Office for National Statistics’ April House Price Index. 

This meant the average house price fell back around £5,000 to £250,772 – although it was still up £20,000 compared to April 2020, delivering an annual property inflation rate of almost 9 per cent.

The average UK house price has risen 8.9 per cent over the past year, says the ONS

The average house price peaked in March at £256,000, according to the ONS report

Year-on-year, the typical home has increased in value by 8.9 per cent to reach £250,772 since last April, the index revealed. 

However, the rate of growth slowed compared to the previous month when prices rose 9.9 per cent annually.

Housing market experts have said the monthly dip in house prices was a result of buyers putting in lower offers in February and March, when they believed the Government’s stamp duty holiday was going to end on 31 March.

Buyers sought to make up for the fact that they would no longer be making the tax saving, which is up to £15,000 –  although it was later extended at the start of that month.  

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘House prices dropped in April, which is bound to unsettle homeowners after almost a year of accelerating price rises. 

‘However, this isn’t necessarily the beginning of the end for house price growth, it’s more likely to be a sign of what an arbitrary deadline can do to a market.

‘At this stage we’re not expecting this to be the ultimate turning point for the market, but it’s a useful wake-up call for buyers, and a reminder that house prices aren’t a one-way street.’

The stamp duty holiday was introduced in July 2020 and means that home buyers do not pay the tax on the proportion of a property purchase under £500,000. 

This will continue until 1 July, when the threshold will decrease to £250,000. It will return to the usual level of £125,000 on 1 October.  

This four-bed home in Bath was developed from a folly built in the 1820s. It is listed on Rightmove at £1million, and agents say it has ‘far-reaching views and extensive gardens’

In Staveley near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, this two-bed property complete with sun deck is listed on Rightmove with a guide price of £250,000

Buyers in Chichester, West Sussex, can snap up this four-bed, three bath property which has a guide price of £815,000. It comes with a detached, self-contained garden studio

Downsizers might consider this two-bed bungalow in Bridlington in the East Riding of Yorkshire, which is listed on Rightmove with an asking price of £180,000

In Pembury near Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, this four-bed, two bath semi detached home is on the market with an asking price of £625,000. It comes with a large detached outbuilding

Another reason for the recent price growth is high levels of demand for moving house compared to relatively little supply, which was noted in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ April 2021 UK Residential Market Survey.

Some experts say that this could help to maintain house price momentum throughout the summer months, even after the incentive of the stamp duty holiday is reduced.  

Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer at Gatehouse Bank, said: ‘The original stamp duty discount deadline of March has made itself felt with a monthly dip in house prices, but annual growth is still remarkable.

‘There remains a shortage properties coming onto the market in many areas, resulting in intense competition in some cases, and this factor is likely to keep prices pushing upwards throughout the summer.’

Rise and fall: A graph showing house price changes by country since 2017

The UK Property Transactions Statistics showed that in April 2021, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the estimated number of transactions of residential properties with a value of £40,000 or greater was 117,860. 

This is 179.6 per cent higher than a year ago. Between March and April 2021, UK transactions decreased by 35.7 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis.

House price growth was strongest in the North East where prices increased by 16.9 per cent in the year to April 2021, according to the ONS. 

The lowest annual growth was in London, where prices increased by 3.3 per cent. 

House prices in London are still the highest in the UK, but they dropped from an average of £500,000 in March to an average of £492,000 in April.

At the country level, the largest annual house price growth in the year to April 2021 was recorded in Wales, where house prices increased by 15.6 per cent.

Given the dramatic house price increases of the last year, buyers are being urged to consider whether they are paying over the odds for their homes. 

Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at online mortgage broker Trussle, said: ‘House prices are continuing to grow due to extremely high demand caused by the rush to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline. 

‘While this is great news for those selling a home, buyers are likely paying over the odds when compared with previous years. 

‘As such, any savings from the Stamp Duty Holiday might well be absorbed by the current high cost of homes. 

‘Buyers should look beyond the headline savings and really consider if this is the right choice for them.’

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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Average UK house price drops £5k in April – but experts say property boom not over

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UK house prices dipped in April as buyers lowered their offers in anticipation of the stamp duty holiday ending, official figures have shown.  

Prices fell 1.9 per cent between March and April according to the Office for National Statistics’ April House Price Index. 

This meant the average house price fell back around £5,000 to £250,772 – although it was still up £20,000 compared to April 2020.

The average UK house price is now more than £250,000, according to official data 

Year on year, the typical home has increased in value by 8.9 per cent to reach £250,772 since last April, the index revealed. 

However, the rate of growth slowed compared to the previous month when prices rose 9.9 per cent annually.

Housing market experts have said the monthly dip in house prices was a result of buyers putting in lower offers in February and March, when they believed the Government’s stamp duty holiday was going to end on 31 March.

Buyers sought to make up for the fact that they would no longer be making the tax saving, which is up to £15,000 –  although it was later extended at the start of that month.  

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘House prices dropped in April, which is bound to unsettle homeowners after almost a year of accelerating price rises. 

‘However, this isn’t necessarily the beginning of the end for house price growth, it’s more likely to be a sign of what an arbitrary deadline can do to a market.

‘At this stage we’re not expecting this to be the ultimate turning point for the market, but it’s a useful wake-up call for buyers, and a reminder that house prices aren’t a one-way street.’

The stamp duty holiday was introduced in July 2020 and means that home buyers do not pay the tax on the proportion of a property purchase under £500,000. 

This will continue until 1 July, when the threshold will decrease to £250,000. It will return to the usual level of £125,000 on 1 October.  

Another reason for the recent price growth is high levels of demand for moving house compared to relatively little supply, which was noted in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ April 2021 UK Residential Market Survey.

Some experts say that this could help to maintain house price momentum throughout the summer months, even after the incentive of the stamp duty holiday is reduced.  

Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer at Gatehouse Bank, said: ‘The original stamp duty discount deadline of March has made itself felt with a monthly dip in house prices, but annual growth is still remarkable.

Rise and fall: A graph showing house price changes by country since 2017

‘There remains a shortage properties coming onto the market in many areas, resulting in intense competition in some cases, and this factor is likely to keep prices pushing upwards throughout the summer.’

The UK Property Transactions Statistics showed that in April 2021, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the estimated number of transactions of residential properties with a value of £40,000 or greater was 117,860. 

This is 179.6 per cent higher than a year ago. Between March and April 2021, UK transactions decreased by 35.7 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis.

House price growth was strongest in the North East where prices increased by 16.9 per cent in the year to April 2021, according to the ONS. 

The lowest annual growth was in London, where prices increased by 3.3 per cent. 

House prices in London are still the highest in the UK, but they dropped from an average of £500,000 in March to an average of £492,000 in April.

At the country level, the largest annual house price growth in the year to April 2021 was recorded in Wales, where house prices increased by 15.6 per cent.

Given the dramatic house price increases of the last year, buyers are being urged to consider whether they are paying over the odds for their homes. 

Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at online mortgage broker Trussle, said: ‘House prices are continuing to grow due to extremely high demand caused by the rush to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline. 

‘While this is great news for those selling a home, buyers are likely paying over the odds when compared with previous years. 

‘As such, any savings from the Stamp Duty Holiday might well be absorbed by the current high cost of homes. 

‘Buyers should look beyond the headline savings and really consider if this is the right choice for them.’

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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