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A Bulgarian technology firm is modifying retro replica Game Boy devices to enable car criminals to steal keyless vehicles in the UK.

The gadgets, being sold for around £20,000, can gain access to vehicles without using the key fob signal from inside the owner’s home, according to the AA.

The sophisticated device can enable car thieves to enter a keyless car – often a feature on luxury and sports cars and now commonly seen on mainstream vehicles – in just one minute.

Sold by Bulgarian firm SOS Auto Keys, the overhauled Nintendo handheld games console, is an example of the sophistication of the car crime industry. It can record data from cars which is then recognised by the vehicle’s system as an authorised remote to gain entry and control the ignition.

On sale since June this year, the device is described as “the most advanced locksmith tool” available. Despite a warning that it should not be used for illegal activities, a YouTube tutorial video shows how it can unlock modern vehicles.

The Home Office and the Department for Business has been notified of the device’s existence by the AA, which is calling for a ban on the gadget’s sale.

Director of Investigative Services at AX, Neil Thomas, said: “We are aware of the device and other similar technology which is sold illegally online, and on the dark web. The criminals and the wider industry supporting car crime is sophisticated and willing to adapt.

“With keyless systems, car thieves have found a weakness in modern vehicles. Even as manufacturers try to improve their systems, the criminals are often one step ahead. For those who are unfortunate enough to lose their vehicle to a thief, equally sophisticated covert tracking devices are often the only reliable solution to secure recovery of a vehicle.

“AX supports the AA’s action in writing to the Home Office.”