Mystery as 100 drivers locked out of vehicles in same car park

Ash Cant
·3-min read

Around 100 people who parked in a supermarket car park were impacted by the same bizarre occurrence which left them locked out of their cars.

On February 27, Hertfordshire Police released a statement on Facebook saying they had received "several" calls from members of the public about being locked out of their vehicles in the car park at Tesco in Royston.

"We wish to reassure residents that we are fully aware of the issues affecting intermittent access to vehicles in this car park," PC Taranvir Gill said in a statement in the police's Facebook page.

“If you have any problems accessing your vehicle, please do not panic."

At the time, the police said the issue seemed to be the key fobs not working correctly, which led to the UK's communications regulator, Ofcom, stepping in and conducting a survey.

Several people were locked out of their cars at a supermarket car park in the UK. Source: Getty Images, file
Several people were locked out of their cars at a supermarket car park in the UK. Source: Getty Images, file

"Many shoppers at the superstore were having difficulties locking and unlocking their vehicles," Ofcom said in a statement.

"These issues then led to other problems, including car alarms inadvertently sounding and resulting in a number of callouts to vehicle recovery services."

The next day, the police released an updated statement, confirming over the course of three days there had been about 100 cases involving people having trouble accessing their cars in that car park.

On February 28, investigations were still ongoing, in hopes of determining the cause of the issue with the keys, though Ofcom had not received any reports in relation to the car park since the afternoon before.

Alien phenomena or anything sinister "unlikely"

Ofcom were tipped off the the phenomenon on February 26, according to the statement, and within 30 minutes of it being reported, an engineer was onsite at the car park.

Using a spectrum analyser, which the company describe as "a piece of equipment which measures the airwaves and detects any radio signal which shouldn’t be there", there was nothing unusual to report.

"However, at that particular moment the problem wasn’t actually happening, and customers were able to lock and unlock their vehicles successfully," Ofcom said.

It appears people at the car park were having problems with their key fobs not working properly. Source: Getty Images
It appears people at the car park were having problems with their key fobs not working properly. Source: Getty Images

One person who insinuated on Facebook they were one of the several people impacted by the mysterious ordeal said they thought it was "some kind of alien phenomena".

However, Ofcom said the issue was "likely to lay a little closer to home".

"It’s difficult to say what might have caused these particular issues at this location, but it is likely to have been something fairly innocuous and accidental," the statement said.

"Previous similar cases we’ve investigated found the culprits to be a faulty doorbell, and some retro lightbulbs. So, shoppers can rest assured that it was unlikely to be anything sinister behind the problem – and certainly not alien phenomena!"

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