POLICE are reminding drivers to keep their vehicles secure after a spate of thefts where cars have been left running and unlocked during de-icing.
Six cars were stolen in the space of a week in Sunderland when left unattended, and last year 41 of the 552 cars stolen in the Northumbria Police area were recorded as insecure.
Superintendent Jim Napier, from Northumbria Police, said: “Unfortunately opportunist thieves do operate and it only takes them a few seconds to take advantage if someone leaves their car unattended with the engine running.
“It’s vital people ensure their cars are secure at all times, extra time should be taken in the morning to make sure the car can be safely de-iced while the owner is present.
“Never leave the vehicle unattended when it’s unlocked, and never leave it with the engine running, even if you are nearby. Equally, thieves will often break in to steal anything of value they see left on display and people should make sure these items are removed and stored out of sight or removed from the vehicle all together.”
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Ashman added: “While during cold weather there are issues with vehicles being stolen when they’re being de-iced, the advice is relevant all year round.”
Officers say that doors, windows and outbuildings should be secure at all times, and nothing of value left in view or within reach, including car keys. Cars should be locked with valuables removed from display and never left with the engine running, even for just a few minutes.
Police continue to carry out operations to target thieves and burglars. Since April there have been 851 arrests forcewide for vehicle crime, and 2,229 for burglary.