New statistics from insurer NFU Mutual reveal that thefts of Land Rover Defenders have increased by 75%.
It believes that thieves are targeting rural areas to swipe vehicles, which ceased production in January, leading to a significant rise in demand for the car and its parts.
Police forces across the UK are also reporting a rise in thefts, with many fearing that criminal gangs with links to the US and Eastern Europe are targeting owners.
Stolen vehicle recovery provider, Tracker, backs NFU Mutual’s campaign to warn Land Rover owners to be vigilant, adding that many of these stolen vehicles are being shipped overseas.
Adrian Davenport, police liaison manager for Tracker, said: “Criminal gangs often target particular vehicles when demand increases and the Land Rover Defender is a popular vehicle all around the globe.
"Not surprisingly, since they’ve been discontinued, the Defender has risen to the top of the car thief’s hit list, with the northeast, southwest and the midlands reported to be where the highest number of insurance claims are being made.”
Land Rover Defender owners are being advised to improve their security by investing in several layers of protection, including trackers, alarms and steering-wheel locks. A tracker uses GPS to constantly monitor a vehicles position.
NFU Mutual is also advising owners to mark components with paint and to keep vehicles locked up or parked in well-lit areas. Following this advice, it says will substantially increase the chances of these classic 4x4s being located and recovered.