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Thieves put car security system to test

BT's new vehicle tracking system is pricey, but a company project manager has reason to be grateful for it already.

BT's new vehicle tracking system found its first stolen car before the system had gone live.

The car, an Audi A4, belongs to David Thomas--project manager for the new BT Trackit system. It was stolen outside his house on Nov. 2 and was recovered, undamaged, the same day.

Thomas was alerted to the theft by BT's Secure Operating Centre. Using satellite-based tracking technology, the car was pinpointed and the local police were informed and were able to recover the vehicle. The car had been abandoned six miles away.

"I couldn't believe it when I discovered my car had been stolen," said Thomas. "I suppose it was an opportunity to put BT Trackit to the test for real."

The theft and subsequent recovery of the vehicle was announced by BT on Monday, the same day that Trackit was officially launched. A BT spokesman insisted that the company had not invented the story.

BT Trackit allow BT to pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle in the UK and other parts of Europe, using GPS tracking. The system was developed by BT redcare, the secure wireless data solutions business of BT Group. The company claims that it achieves the toughest insurance industry security standard, Thatcham's Category 5.

But this security comes at a cost. A BT Trackit Unit for your car will cost $515 (299.99 pounds) and installation will cost another $255 (149 pounds). There is also an annual service charge of $255.

BT claims the service is "20 percent cheaper than a leading provider of Category 5 products" such as Tracker Network.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.