CRIMINALS in Cork city have been targeting vehicles imported from countries where cars have fewer security measures and are easier to steal.
The vehicles are usually imported from countries that have harsher penalties for theft.
The thefts come as the impact of Brexit takes a significant toll on imported car prices.
Since Brexit, the price of importing cars from the UK has increased leading people to explore alternative jurisdictions. These jurisdictions boast extremely low crime rates due to the significantly high penalties facing criminals found guilty of vehicle theft. These can be as serious as life imprisonment for those responsible.
Crime Prevention Officer Brian McSweeney said they have been seeing a significant increase in thefts of these cars in the last four weeks.
Sgt McSweeney is pleading with owners of these vehicles to secure their cars with a steering lock or vehicle tracking device to curb the spate of vehicle thefts.
"An Garda Síochána, Cork City Division has noticed in recent weeks an increase in the number of Vehicles being stolen that do not have immobilisers fitted which are from import markets," he warned.
He spoke of how the majority of thieves are using the cars for joyrides across the city.
He described the motives behind the crimes adding: "Some of the cars have been located a close distance from where they were taken. Others are being taken purely for fun and are being burned out as soon as they are finished with."
He warned people to be mindful before purchasing so-called bargain vehicles.
"Everyone is looking for cheap cars now but it's important that these things are considered before a vehicle is purchased."