Retro 'game boys' are actually £20,000 keyless fobs for stealing cars

Gadgets designed to look like Nintendo Game Boy consoles from the 1990s are actually highly-technical keyless car fobs.

The gadgets can be had for £20,000 and work by mimicking the signal from a traditional fob to gain access to a car within seconds.

Once inside the car, the vehicle’s system recognises the device and starts the ignition.

Marketed as the ‘most advanced locksmith tool’, the gadgets are sold by a Bulgarian tech firm called SOS Auto Keys. While it comes with a warning that it should not be bought by anyone with ‘unlawful intentions’, it’s all-too-easy for it to be picked up by criminals.

The AA says that the device, which went on sale in June, shows how technology employed by car thieves is getting more sophisticated. Although expensive at the moment, the price will likely come down as the technical components get cheaper.

According to crime figures, car thefts have risen 50% over the last six years. There were 106,291 recorded in the UK last year.

The motoring body has now written to the Home Office and the Department for Business calling for a ban on the gadget’s sale. According to the Daily Mail, the Home Office has raised the issue as a matter of urgency with Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Jack Cousens, from the AA, said: ‘As fast as car technology evolves, criminals are working just as hard to cheat these systems. 

‘What is most worrying is that something sold decades ago has been repurposed to help thieves. With plenty of old gadgets collecting dust, some will tinker with them in the hope they can unlock a car.

‘Thieves have levelled up from playing Grand Theft Auto on a console to using the console to commit Grand Theft Auto.’

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