back to article Leeds thieves target Ford Focus chips

Police in Leeds have issued a warning to Ford Focus owners that thieves are targeting their vehicles in order to get their mitts on an allegedly magical chip from the car's stereo, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports. Detective Inspector Nick Wallen from North East Leeds Division explained: "There has been an ongoing rumour for …


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  1. Stuart Van Onselen


    But I thought *everyone* already knows that a chip designed to manage a car engine also contains sophisticated decryption functions that unlock encrypted digital video signals.

    Engine management, decryption, the link is so obvious. It's not like anyone is being a gullible twit with larcenous tendencies and a brain that would rattle in a flea's skull.

  2. PhilF

    A simple solution

    As a Ford Focus owner based in Sheffield I can recommend a simple solution to this problem.

    About a year ago I left my car on the drive (in a quiet cul-de-sac) and woke up in the morning to find the window smashed and the radio missing. I am therefore protected from further theft by the absence of a Ford Focus radio as I obviously didn't replace the under-specced factory version.

    Interestingly I did gat a letter from the police about 9 months latter indicating that somebody had asked for the offense to be taken into consideration - so obviously the guilty have been punished!

  3. dervheid

    The stuff of legend...

    It would appear that Leeds is vying for the title "UK's Dumb Criminal Capital"

  4. Dave Bell

    Some people will believe anything.

    Perhaps if I put this chip in my PC it will improve my Windows experience?

    Better get that the right way around, I don't fancy doing 70mph on the M62 and having my windscreen turn blue.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Only in Leeds

    The rest of the country get their sky free when they apply to the Benefit Office to get paid to sit on their oversized arses all day

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Nothing to do with Sky, Ford and the radio makers then.....

    Even your averagely dull perp should have got the message by now after 4 years plus of it not happening for them.

    What does Sky's "Force Field" actually do?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Sky field force interface manager

    Then I'm changing my title from boring IT Manager to Sto Plains magical abacus manager.

    I bet he made that one up when he knew it was going to get published.

    Mines the robe with the stars on it.


  8. W
    Dead Vulture


    "Collected on the Internet, 2006"

    Source: Snopes


    Quiet week in Yorkshire?

    Why has this "news" (olds?) been spewed back up by the Register?

  9. Fab De Marco

    How the hell did that rumour start?!

    Why bother stealing them anyway, you can probably pick them up form Maplins for a few pence.

    Lets start our own rumour..... putting 4 frozen red grapes in your fuel tank will cause a chemical reaction improving fuel efficiency by 37%

    using white grapes lowers efficiency by 7%

    **waits for multiple grape thefts in Leeds**

    Mines the one with the ford ka in the pocket.

  10. Secretgeek

    'Sky field force interface manager'

    As opposed to the Sky force field interface manager who's contracted out to the Empire providing crap tv for Death Star residents.

    'Welcome to the 'TV for planet destroying weapons' helpline, your call is important to us...'

    God, I'm such a geek.

    Coat, please.

  11. Mr B

    Tough times

    for low grade carstealers, hard to find a plausible excuse for stealing a focus rather than a Porsche.

    Do they recover the stereo-sectomy-ed stolen cars?

    /the one with the cracked KeeLoq chain.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    But then he would say that

    Peter Lewis chipped in with: "We've been asked about this urban myth in the past but there is absolutely no evidence it has any basis in truth."

    But then he would say that wouldn't he, denying it almost guarantees it's true. If it wasn't true then why deny it.

    Writes :- RecentlyMowedDown ByFordFocus from Hospital

  13. moylan


    now that the news is out we can expect this stupidity in new locations.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    "...crime will not be tolerated and their [thief] pointless actions will result in them being put through the court systems"

    Does this mean that when it is not pointless (e.g. obtaining the car to drive to school) then they dont need to worry about the court systems.

    Perhaps ive been abroad too long

  15. Chris

    In other news.

    the immobiliser key from a 1998 Fiat Punto allows you to play copied games on your Playstation 3

  16. steogede

    Double Urban Myth

    It is an urban myth (probably generated by Ford) that people are stealing these radios due t an urban myth.

    It is much more likely that people are stealing these radios due to :

    A. Insecurity of the car (standard alarm is only triggered by the door, not the windows).

    B. Ease of bypassing the security code.

    C. Large market: due to the high prices Ford charge for a new unit, there is a large market for "second-hand" units on eBay.

    IMHO, Ford are responsible for this, no-one else. But then what incentive is them to change this - the more units are stolen the more overpriced replacements they can sell.

  17. Tim

    Sky arent going to confirm it are they?

    Why ask sky if its true? they arent going to say yes. The fact is that it would be a pointless act to steal one when you could buy one off ebay for fairly cheap. But the case is that theives will steal stuff even if they dont want it!

  18. Ross

    Woo, woo

    This is the Police - put the stone down and step out of the glass house!

    I mean seriously - "Peter Lewis chipped in with" Please make it stop...

  19. Tony

    Well, they would say that wouldn't they?

    If it was true or not...

  20. Jimbo Gunn

    Here, take it. It's total CRAP

    Being a F.F.F.Ford driver for a while I can say that each and every car stereo supplied by Ford is crap, so here, take it! A 6-CD changer that jams with the worst reception for any radio I ever had (including the handlebar tranny I used to have on my chopper - no that's not a transvestite sat on my crotch).

    Maybe though I can use this rumour to sell crap ford stereos on eBay for vastly inflated margins. I may get 4.99 instead of 3.99 for the hunk of junk.

  21. Tom


    So, how are the people stupid enough to believe this, be dexterous and cunning enough to extract and re-fit said chip?

    Phase 1 ----- Ford stereos

    Phase 2 ----- ??????

    Phase 3 ----- Free sky decoder!

  22. Shinku


    Wait, so even if this happened to be true, where are people gonna stick these chips and how? I can't imagine seeing Bob down the pub one night and him telling me he'd just modchipped his Sky box with the guts from a standard issue Focus radio...

    Either there's some really slow people out there or this is a cover-up... >_>

  23. min

    magic chip...

    ...and sky TV? where to they get these guys??? oh. Leeds. Says it all really...

  24. Anonymous Coward

    How to end this kind of crime.... forever!

    Just start a counter-rumour that there's a special kind of "chip" that gives you free Sky for life AND can tell you the next week's winning lottery numbers ... and all you have to do is reach up a staffy's arse and pull it out!

    How about that for getting two problems to solve each other? ;-)

  25. Arnold Lieberman

    Who'd have though it...

    ...common thieves happen to be morons!

  26. Anonymous Coward


    So the people whose bottom line is affected by signal piracy via those chips say that the rumour is a lie... this "fact" would have more impact comming from an impartial methinks.

  27. Mike Smith

    Leeds, eh

    As I live in Leeds, I was thinking of taking Mr Travaglia to task over his disparaging references to this fine metropolis... and then I read this.

    Yes, the hoodie with the Slim Jim and spring-loaded centre punch in the pocket, please.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Stupid myth

    Who'd be stupid enough to believe that Sky's custom-designed security system is going to be defeated using a chip from a stereo?

    I know car thieves come from the bottom end of the gene pool, but even so...

  29. adnim

    Even if this did work,

    it would be so much effort for such little reward.

    I guess my after market head unit keeps my Focus safe... I live not too far from Leeds, but far enough for it to be pleasant ;)

  30. RichyS
    Paris Hilton

    And the reverse?

    By that rationale, can I hot-wire a Ford Focus using my old Sky digibox?

    Paris, just 'cos...

  31. Stu

    New rumour-mill...

    I've got it!!

    As a short experiment - How to convince the criminal 'fraternity' of such ridiculous things just cos it sounds techy. I may carry this out myself -

    1 - Set up an ongoing Ebay page something like - PS3 console Mod Chip.

    2 - give it a description something on the lines of "For sale - one PS3 mod chip based on the popular bog standard household electric doorbell technique, used for playing games downloaded off teh intarnets."

    3 - develop the idea/description - "Learn the knowledge Sony dont want you to learn - Using a mere front door household doorbell, your PS3 can play backed up BluRay titles (even from 1.44mb floppy disks). YOu will receive one, off the shelf, bog standard doorbell and full colour video instructions on a sheet of paper on how to install it. The doorbell button will become the on-off switch for running your pirated umm backed up games. "

    ...or maybe something more imaginative.

    4 - Sit back and watch your dumb types buy your item. If somebody falls for it (they will) just send them a cheap assed doorbell, and a sheet of inexplicable tech-wordy instructions (involving dissecting the PS3 console to an unrecoverable degree) and you're covered by Ebay policies.

    5 - Just sit back and read the news (L.Haines news) as your typical chavs go on doorbell thieving sprees throughout Staines. But they'd have to knick the consoles first of course.

    A new olympic sport methinks. I mean lets face it, Ebay is just such the Den of corruption and crime where such stories could have been started.

  32. Robert Moore

    Another theory

    Maybe so many of these stereos are "stolen" so the owners can get a free insurance upgrade to a real stereo.

    Mines the one with the Slim Jim in the pocket.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Leeds

    err, hang on.

    the article does say "North East Leeds Division". that's the rough-arsed end of town. no wonder!

  34. John

    tell the thieves?

    "I would like car owners to ensure that their vehicle and its contents are secure as well as making thieves aware that this type of crime will not be tolerated..."

    Not sure how i would go about making thieves aware of this. Possibly stop random people on the street and inform them that it's a lie that a chip in a dodge car radio can get you free satellite. Just on the off chance they might be a thief? Oh well guess that method has worked well for the MAFIAA and their movies... ;)



  35. Anonymous Coward

    Install Instructions

    Here's the install instructions!

    Items required:

    1 x Sky Decoder Box

    1 x Chip from Ford Car Stereo

    1 x Small Electrical Screwdriver

    Turn off and unplug your existing Sky box from the mains electrical supply. Hold the Chip acquired from the Ford Stereo in your left hand. Insert screwdriver into the live of your mains socket. Apply power to the socket.

    FLASH! BANG! No more Chav.

    Joke Alert symbol, 'cos no doubt someone will try it.

    The writer of this post accepts no responsibility for any injury/damage sustained by even trying this! It's a joke! Don't do it!

  36. b166er

    So if I

    put the chip from a $ky box in my Ford Focus stereo, will it turn it into KITT?

    Or maybe generate a Force Field?

    A Ford Focus stereo may be shit, but it's still better than $ky. Trust a thief not to know that.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    SO it's true...

    Murdoch really does control the evil empire..

    Paris, because even she's not cheap enough to get free Sky+ by having your name plastered all over the sides of buses.

  38. Tom

    English sheep shgr

    Theirs an article in todays Yorkshire Evening Post that a Leeds englishman was caught by a bus full of people having sex with a sheep. Couldn't make these up, it is Yorkshire.

  39. Captain DaFt

    @ Tom

    What was the gentleman from Leeds caught doing, being a gentleman in Leeds?

    And why was a bus full of people having sex with a sheep?

  40. Adrian Esdaile

    A shame you don't have Cane Toads in Blighty...

    as a rumour that licking one can get you very high would thin out chav numbers quite efficiently.

    For the record, licking cane toads gets you high, higher, then dead. They are, in fact, quite poisonous.

  41. Temp

    @ Stu

    You have a future in selling high-end audio equipment, my friend. A bright and shining future, with so much money you can't even imagine.

  42. Hans

    It works. honest!

    All you need to do is put it in the freezer overnight!

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    typical, incomplete instructions

    It does work, I've seen it done, but the missing piece of key information is - you have to get the radio from a RED Ford Focus.

  44. Michael Biddulph

    Not just in Leeds

    "It would appear that Leeds is vying for the title "UK's Dumb Criminal Capital"

    My friends in Manchester have had their Focus broken into twice and the radio nicked and the local plod told them exactly the same story...

  45. Tonto Popaduopolos
    Thumb Up

    Leeds and Manchester?

    So it's oop North then........ phew that's a relief!

  46. sam

    it does work. honest

    I simply sellotaped a whole focus radio to my sky box and i now get every channel which has ever or can ever exist!

  47. Paul
    Dead Vulture

    What I want to know....

    Is do they know which chip, or do they think any one of the mass of chips inside a stereo will work?

    I think im going to wire up a Tazer to my stereo, and then demand a special recognition Darwin award for removing these people from the gene pool.

  48. heystoopid

    Easy Fix

    Easy fix , no one steals the old reliable Trabant suicide machine parked out the front with the keys in the ignition ,window open and the car radio on for some reason they always take the car parked in front of it !

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Sky field force interface manager

    I just have to say it.

    May the field force be with you Luke Sky Interface Manager

    Mine is the shiny gold one master.

  50. John Dougald McCallum


    The reason that the radio is stolen is that it is worth more than the Focus TAH DAH

  51. michael hutcherson
    Thumb Up


    It's quite ironic when Virgin have just (quietly) launched their new Usenet Newsserver, which is stuffed with illegal binaries...

  52. Anonymous Coward

    He was doing well until the end...

    Inspector Wallen concluded with the traditional: "I would like car owners to ensure that their vehicle and its contents are secure as well as making thieves aware that this type of crime will not be tolerated and their pointless actions will result in them being put through the court systems."


    Court systems? WTF do those have to do with anything?

    Me; Nunchakas; Chav-scum... problem solved...

    The crim will certainly know that "... this type of crime will not be tolerated and their pointless actions will result in them being ..." beaten to a pulp and then fed to a staffordshire bull-terrier.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a Myth...

    It's just a myth spread around to stop theives breaking into Focus's... it really is true!

    What must go through a theives mind. Ok, i've broken into the car, will take the stereo and check it later. Back at home (or wherever), open it up, now to find the chip... mmm, what does it look like... mmmm....

    I hope some of them realise and feel stupid :p

  54. Anonymous Coward

    @Stupid myth

    >"Who'd be stupid enough to believe that Sky's custom-designed security system is going to be defeated using a chip from a stereo?"

    Well, from the evidence before us, Tony, Sascha Zierfuss, and Tim are.

    I wonder if they'd like to buy a bridge from me that receives free porn? ROFL!

  55. tony trolle

    @It works. honest!

    only on philips 751 (Vaxhalls)

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