Press release: the surge in vehicles stolen from railway station car parks

  • Alex Buttle
  • 18th July 2019
  • Sevenoaks is the UK’s worst railway station for vehicle thefts – 14 stolen between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019
  • Commuter towns: ten worst stations for vehicle thefts are all within an hour of London
  • St Albans Station: vehicle thefts have dropped 77% in the past 12 months 
  • More than a third (39%) of thefts from stations were scooters, mopeds or motorbikes

The number of vehicles stolen from railway station car parks has almost trebled in five years, according to official British Transport Police data analysed by Motorway.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request made by Motorway.co.uk, reveals that the number of vehicles (cars, scooters, mopeds and motorbikes) stolen from train station car parks has increased by 198% since 2014/15. 

The latest figures from the British Transport Police reveal that 414 vehicles were stolen from train station car parks between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019. This compares to just 139 thefts between 1st  April 2014 and 31st March 2015.

The most popular vehicle brands targeted by thieves were; Honda (67), Ford (47), Yamaha (46), Piaggio (32), Land Rover (18), Vespa (17), BMW (15), Range Rover (12) and Audi (11).  More than a third (39%) of vehicles stolen were scooters, mopeds or motorbikes. 

Railway stations are a hotbed of vehicle theft across the UK
Railway stations are a hotbed of vehicle theft across the UK

The figures also reveal that London commuter stations have the worst record for vehicle thefts. The top ten stations for thefts were all within an hour of the capital.

Sevenoaks is the worst UK train station for thefts, with 14 vehicles stolen from the car park between April 2018 and March 2019. Brighton recorded 10 thefts during the same period.

In the previous 12-months, St Albans City was officially the worst station, with 22 recorded vehicle thefts. But numbers have fallen dramatically in the past year, down by more than three-quarters (77%) according to the latest crime figures.

Network Rail owns and operates the railway infrastructure in England, Scotland and Wales including 20 of the largest stations. The other train stations, of which there are more than 2,500, are managed by the train operating companies.

The following table shows which UK train stations have recorded the highest number of vehicle thefts between the start of April 2018  and end of March 2019.

Railway stationCountyFastest Time/Distance to LondonNumber of thefts
Sevenoaks  Kent32 mins/21 miles14
BrightonSussex52 mins/47 miles10
Ebbsfleet InternationalKent18 mins/20 miles8
HaslemereSurrey48 mins/39 miles8
GodalmingSurrey43 mins/31 miles7
HildenboroughKent27 mins/25 miles7
BeaconsfieldBuckinghamshire20 mins/22 miles6
CambridgeCambridgeshire47 mins/47 miles5
FarnboroughHampshire34 mins/31 miles5
Harlow TownEssex29 mins/20 miles5

Alex Buttle, director of Motorway comments:

“These figures make depressing reading for commuters who split their journey into work across road and train. The rise in railways station thefts has been turbo-charged by the growth in popularity of scooters and mopeds, which are an easy target for thieves. 

“Although most, if not all, stations car parks will have CCTV cameras, that doesn’t mean your vehicle won’t be targeted. Seasoned criminals know how to quickly gain access to cars, and many aren’t bothered by on-site security. 

“Motorbikes, mopeds and scooters are particularly vulnerable, so ensure you have multiple security measures in place; such as wheel locks and clamps plus heavy-duty chain link or brake disc locks to make your vehicle less appealing to opportunistic criminals.”