UK

Buggy thefts worth £60m a year

A black market for stolen baby buggies has emerged and is worth around £60m a year, according to insurance estimates.

Sales of top-range strollers are up some 40% and thefts have almost doubled in a year, says Halifax Home Insurance.

Most were taken from inside homes - or just outside - while others disappeared from car parks, cafes and restaurants.

The company says criminals were easily able to sell stolen buggies online and parents unwittingly fuelled the black market through second-hand purchases.

Nearly one in four had bought a buggy second-hand, either from auction websites or from friends and family.

Head of underwriting David Rochester said: "It may seem surprising that thieves would stoop so low, yet it appears the increasing value of baby buggies has caused parents to become a target for thieves.

"We recommend all new parents make sure buggies are safely secured when stored in the home and not left visible in porches or driveways."

Details from Halifax suggested criminals were stealing specific models, including the Bugaboo Bee Plus which costs £459, Silver Cross 3D (£250), Quinny Zapp (£150) and the Maclaren Techno XT (£196).