The number of car thefts fell by 7 per cent in the first half of 2016, continuing the steady downward trend of the last 20 years.
The six-month figure of 4,776 means the annual figure is on course to dip below 10,000 for the first time since records began. Last year 5,180 privately owned vehicles were stolen, itself a 6 per cent drop on the same period in 2014, according to figures compiled by anti-vehicle crime group Stichting Avc.
The group attributed the drop in part to better security and information exchanges between government vehicle agencies, making it harder for criminals to sell stolen cars over the border.
Thefts of container lorries fell even more sharply by 27 per cent, while motorbike theft was down by 15 per cent and moped theft was 7 per cent lower.