Key bought online for £20 blamed for van theft epidemic

The skeleton key is available on Amazon, Picture; Amazon.
The skeleton key is available on Amazon, Picture; Amazon.
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A skeleton/master key that can be bought online for around £20 is being blamed for a spate of van thefts in Edinburgh and across the UK.

The key, which can be purchased on Amazon and other websites, is meant to be available if drivers lose the key to their van, however, the tool is being used to break into vehicles and steal tools and other possessions.

A skeleton key available on Amazon is resulting in a host of break ins.

A skeleton key available on Amazon is resulting in a host of break ins.

Figures from BBC suggest that a van is broken into every 23 minutes in the UK and that such crimes have increased by two-thirds in the last two years.

The availability of skeleton keys is allowing criminals to break into popular vehicles at will.

However, the keys are not illegal and can be used as a locksmith’s tool. Some critics have hit back saying that they must become less available to online users and the general public.

Steffan George from the Master Locksmiths Association said: “These are legitimate locksmiths tools, but they shouldn’t be available to everyone.

“We would welcome a restriction of their sale.”

Campaigners have blamed such keys as one of the reasons for an increase in crime with van users being encouraged to try and secure their vehicles if valuables are left inside.