I was left terrified after I couldn't lock my car at a busy shopping centre and caught two people staring at me

A MUM has warned drivers of her “scary ordeal” in a shopping centre car park when her vehicle wouldn’t lock.

Heather Dunn, 39, fears car thieves were jamming the signal of her key fob at the Trafford Centre in Manchester on Tuesday.


The mum-of-two from Bury claims she couldn’t lock her Nissan Juke and noticed a suspicious car pull up directly behind her.

Two young men and a woman in her 20s stared at her as she opened and shut all her car doors, trying to work out the problem.

Eventually, Heather moved to another parking space and was able to lock her car, but she made a lucky escape.

Car jammers are small transmitters that can interrupt signals from key fobs, ruining their ability to lock a car.

Thieves can jam your key signal without you noticing and wait to steal your unlocked car.

Even relatively low-powered devices, which can easily be bought online, can have a range of up to 75m and affect a whole car park

Heather reported the incident to the Trafford Centre’s security team, who had received other complaints of key fobs not working in the car park.

She told the Manchester Evening News: "It was only because I was getting my coat out and I didn’t hear the car click that I realised it hadn’t locked.

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"If I hadn’t checked I would have come out and my car would have been gone. That is pretty scary. I am guessing they were just trying their luck."

She said: “I tried locking my car but nothing was happening. I opened and shut all my doors again but nothing was working.

"I realised they must have been doing something to jam the signal. I got back in the car and looked at them in the wing mirror and they were looking away from me.

"I moved my car and then it locked straight away. I rang the Trafford Centre yesterday and they said this is not the first time this had been reported."

She added: "I didn’t manage to get the registration of the car myself. I was so anxious I just wanted to get away from them. There weren't many other people around.

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"My car is only a Nissan Juke. There were lots of spaces nearby and there was no real need for them to pull up directly behind me. I think their car was a black VW.

A spokesperson for the Trafford Centre also told the paper: "We are investigating this customer report and reviewing CCTV footage from the evening.

“Our security teams are always alert to any customer concerns and we continue to carefully monitor our car parks at all times."

What is car key jamming?

Car key jammers are small transmitters that can interrupt signals from key fobs, ruining their ability to lock a car.

Thieves can jam your key signal without you noticing and wait to steal your unlocked car.

Even relatively low-powered devices, which can easily be bought online, can have a range of up to 75m and affect a whole car park.

How can you keep your car safe?

Always check your car is locked manually by trying a door handle after using your key fob. Be aware if your car doesn’t lock that thieves could be operating nearby.

Alternatively, a more flashy security measure is a car jamming detector that sets off an alarm when a blocking signal is detected.

Extra precautions include steering wheel locks, gearstick locks and trackers fitted to your car.

Will insurance companies cover this kind of theft?

Most insurance companies will not pay out if a car has been left unlocked – and there’s no proof you haven’t just forgotten to lock your car.

Unless a thief is caught in the act, it’s unlikely your insurance will believe your car lock has been jammed.

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