Car thieves and housebreakers can be foiled by a message from your mobile phone, after a new security device was invented by Austrian company ECA Message Systems.

The ECA Message Maker, displayed at last week's International Security Exhibition in Germany, is installed in the home or car. It then detects any disturbance and movement and sends a text message to your mobile phone.

The phone owner can send a return message to the Message Maker, such as "cut off petrol" or "sound burglar alarm", and the Message Maker will comply.

It can also be set to work as a fire alarm and networked to up to 128 phone extensions.

The exhibition ran from October 10 to 13 in Essen.