THEFTS of vehicles in Hampshire have more than doubled in the last four years, new research has revealed.

Between 2018 and 2019, Hampshire Police dealt with a total of 1,504 stolen vehicle reports according to figures obtained by RAC Insurance.

This is an increase of 112 per cent when compared to the 711 cases the Force dealt with in 2014 to 2015.

It was among the biggest increases recorded by the 41 police forces that responded to the Freedom of Information request.

The figures have been described as "disturbing" by insurance bosses.

Nationally, 152,541 vehicles were stolen in 2018-19 - a rise of 56 per cent when compared to the figures in 2014-15.

All but three police forces in the UK recorded an increase of thefts during this period.

RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said: “These figures paint a rather disturbing picture. Vehicle thefts are on the rise almost everywhere, and in some parts of the country numbers are rocketing.

“It’s also not the case that the rises in crime are confined to a few larger urban areas, with many police forces covering more rural areas also seeing big increases.

“While vehicle crime is at far lower levels today than it was in the early 1990s thanks to improvements in vehicle security, and the number of vehicles licensed to be driven on the UK’s roads is higher than at any point in the past, it’s still concerning that so many more vehicles are being stolen than just a few years ago.”