BMW owners worried about their car being stolen by cunning crooks can take action - by hiding their car's diagnostics port.

Autoblog has found that many owners who fear their cars may be stolen by crooks reprogramming blank keys are taking drastic action - moving the location of the vulnerable diagnostics port to a safer place.

The process, detailed by BMW owners' website 3seriesownersclub.co.uk, is said to take around 20 minutes, and requires nothing more than a pair of Torx and Phillips head screwdrivers.

By simply unscrewing a few items of trim in the driver-side footwell, owners should be able to move the port somewhere safer - with the guide suggesting somewhere under the steering column. There it should be out of reach (and sight) of potential thieves, but still accessible should dealers require its use.

But if you're not handy with a screwdriver, don't worry - there are some other steps you can take too.

For a start, and we know this should be a bit of a given, don't leave your car unlocked. Your pride and joy might have an immobiliser, but with the diagnostic port beginning to provide so much functionality, you shouldn't make it even easier to access.

Also, and while it may be an unattractive addition to your £30,000 BMW, consider fitting a steering lock and keeping the key in a separate place. Your car might have one built in, but a secondary lock adds an extra barrier if your keys are cloned or - in theory - stolen.

Similarly, a robust wheel clamp can help to stall thieves - even if it's just put on overnight - as can fitting a second alarm that's not controlled by the car's computer.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have an empty garage to spare, but if you've got one, use it. Not only will your car be out of sight, but it'll have an extra layer of protection and, if you give your insurer a ring, could save you some money from your premium.

Finally, try and keep up with news from your local police force via their website or (if they have one) Twitter or Facebook page. They'll be more in the loop than you, and should offer measures to keep yourself safe in the face of the latest crime wave.