DOMESTIC violence perpetrators are attaching tracking devices to their ex-partners’ cars in a frightening new stalking trend.

Police say violent and obsessive men are harnessing rapidly advancing technology to track and stalk estranged wives and girlfriends.

Officers from the Gold Coast Domestic and Family Violence Taskforce say they have seen a surge in the use of tracking devices and smartphone apps as stalkers go to extraordinary lengths.

We’re seeing cases where women have their cars in for a service and mechanics are actually finding tracking devices attached to vehicles,

taskforce investigator Detective Senior Constable Dave Coleman told The Sunday Mail.

We’ve arrested several offenders in the past six months for stalking their exes using either mobile phones or magnetised tracking devices attached to vehicles.

These tracking devices are small and readily available online. The technology is advancing so quickly, it’s crazy.

He said the apps allowed stalkers to secretly track their ex-partners.

“Couples share passwords and so on, so we’re seeing background apps installed on phones to track movements and also monitor phone calls and messages.

Perpetrators are suddenly turning up to locations including (domestic violence) support agencies that the aggriev-ed are attending.

It’s quite frightening for the women involved.

Security equipment retailers sell GPS vehicle trackers from less than $220.

The trackers are designed to prevent car theft, but Senior Constable Coleman said they were also being used for sinister purposes.

He said domestic violence-related stalking also often involved hacking emails or setting up fake social media accounts.

“We’ve seen cases including a man who hacked into his ex-partner’s email and cancelled her flights for an overseas holiday, and another guy who set up fake accounts for his ex on (dating site) Plenty of Fish so she was getting unwanted calls from random men.”

Taskforce head Detective Inspector Marc Hogan said stalking was a key indicator of domestic violence.

We regard it as a significant safety risk and take stalking behaviour extremely ser-iously,

he said.