Insurers are cracking down on advanced car thieves, who are increasingly using state-of-the-art technology to steal vehicles, a conference heard.

Specialists from the police, insurers and the security industry outlined the latest trends in car crime at the joint conference by the ABI and the Motor Insurance Repair and Research Centre.

They include:
- Electronic "grabbers" or scanners to obtain alarm codes. Thieves watch car owners setting their alarms and then scan in the code.
- "Cloning" of a vehicle's identity. Cars' identities are copied and then sold on to unsuspecting buyers.
- Stealing to order for export or parts.

Norfolk chief constable Ken Williams said: "Tackling the increasingly sophisticated nature of many car crimes is essential if the government's pledge to reduce vehicle crime by 30% over five years is to be achieved."

He said manufacturers recognised the value of good security, and more vehicles than ever may be fitted with security devices, but there is no room for complacency.

"Close liaison and intelligence-gathering between all agencies interested in reducing car crime, through means such as this conference, will enable a shared understanding of trends. We can then develop measures to tackle them, which will benefit all motorists," he said.