Cars 'possessed' in Summercourt lock mystery

Staff at Summercourt Academy who have been affected
Image caption Residents said about 30 cars had been affected

Locking systems on dozens of cars have been "possessed" in a Cornish village and resulted in a child being trapped inside a vehicle, residents say.

People living in Summercourt said their cars locked and unlocked by themselves and some would not start.

Lin Howard, who has been affected, said residents have changed key fob batteries but the problem, which started six months ago, has remained.

Expert Mike Parris said the most likely cause was radio interference.

'Very distressing'

Residents have called the area around Summercourt Academy, where it occurs, the "Summercourt Triangle" - named after the famous Bermuda Triangle - and said about 30 cars had been affected.

Ms Howard, who is the school secretary, said a car had automatically locked itself with a young child inside which was "very distressing" for the mother.

She said: "Another driver has not been able to start their car. They have to go home, get back to school, get someone to look at the car, then after a period of time it starts again."

Resident Wendy Malham said: "I got in the car to drive to school and the locks were going on-off, on-off, like it was possessed.

"I can't actually lock my car anymore because the alarms go off."

Kelvin Malham added: "We went to Andover where we didn't have a problem, but when we returned it started again."

Mr Parris, from car technology consultancy firm SBD, said: "The most probable cause is accidental radio interference, which is not unheard of."

He said it could be caused by "almost anything that is wireless", such as alarm systems, temperature gauges, weather stations or walkie-talkies.

"Residents could try and keep a log of when they have difficulties, the locations which are worse and anything which helps to pinpoint it.

"These things are notoriously difficult to pin down," he added.