Porsches join less exalted cars such as Nissans and Vauxhalls in the top ten of cars stolen in 1999, according to the government's Car Theft Index.

And it seems the rich boys' favourite toy is being stolen to order to satisfy the market in Hong Kong. Immobilisers and other security devices are bypassed by hoisting the cars onto low loaders or just towing them away.

The theft rate for Porsche 911s from 1988 to 1990 is 99 per 1,000 vehicles registered, while models from 1997 to 1999 saw 92 thefts per 1,000.

Other cars are targeted because they are easy to break into, such as older vehicles, or because they attract joyriders, such as the Vauxhall Astra.

Top of the figures were pre-1985 Nissans such as the Laurel and Skyline, with 109 cars stolen per 1,000.

Vauxhall managed five entries in the top ten, with the Astra in its various incarnations appearing four times and the Cavalier once.

Also featured were Metros from 1985 to 1987 and Ford Orions from 1988 to 1990.

Among car types, small saloons were stolen the most often, while people carriers were at lowest risk.

The Car Theft Index showed that the number of vehicles stolen in 1999 had fallen by 20,808 to 370,463. Those at the greatest risk from theft were cars between 12 and 14 years old, with a theft rate of 27 per 1,000 registered.

The government's vehicle crime task force aims to cut car theft by 30% by 2004.