Tamworth residents reminded to be vigilant with vehicle safety after New Year incidents
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Police officers in Tamworth are reminding residents to be vigilant around locking their cars and not storing valuables in them after a spate of criminal activity across the borough since the new year period.
Keyless vehicle thefts, the taking of items from within vehicles and criminal damage were among the incidents recorded between 28 December and Monday (4 January) and people are being reminded of the steps they can take to ensure they don’t fall victim in future.
On Friday (1 January) on Valley Drive in Wilnecote a grey Mazda 3 was set on fire, with investigators believing it was deliberate.
Saturday (2 January) saw a blue Ford Fiesta ST stolen without its keys from Juniper in Glascote Heath which was then used in other thefts in the area such as a Volkswagen van being broken into on Carlton Crescent, near to St Elizabeth’s Catholic Primary School, by two men. They also struck again on Watchman Walk, Coton, on an unsecured vehicle. The blue Ford Fiesta ST was later recovered in Polesworth with some stolen items inside including tools from the van on Carlton Crescent and the vehicle on Watchman Walk.
And on Monday (4 January), a man was caught on CCTV in Brambling, Wilnecote, trying car doors in search of unlocked vehicles.
Sergeant Gary Harborow of the Tamworth Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “The message is a clear one – lock your cars, and don’t leave your valuables inside.
“We would also recommend considering secondary means of securing vehicles to prevent thefts of vehicles – particularly keyless thefts and if you own targeted vehicles such as Ford Fiestas.
“But, please, don’t leave property in your vehicles to be stolen in the first place.
“People are roaming the streets in the early hours of the morning who try every car door and steal whatever they can from the insecure vehicles they locate.
“Some estimations have uncovered maybe a third of vehicles are left unlocked by their owners, and this needs to stop.
“Our officers will continue to be pro-active on this issue and chase down anybody in our Neighbourhood Police Team areas who pose a problem.
“Protecting the communities we serve is of paramount importance and we always strive to catch any crooks operating on our streets.”
Here’s a list of steps you can take to ensure you don’t become targeted by thieves during this lockdown:
• Always lock your car – whether you’ve popped out for essentials or filling up on fuel it’s vital you keep your doors locked at all times. • Close windows to prevent “fishing” – it might be hot outside but you don’t need to keep your windows open when you’re not in the car. Close them, so there’s no gap for a thief to exploit. • Secure your number plates – use tamper resistant screws to make it harder for thieves to steal them. • Secure anything that’s on the outside of your vehicle – Got a roof-rack or holiday top box? Make sure they’re locked properly if you’ve got no choice but to leave them with your vehicle overnight. • Take it with you or hide it – mobile phones, coins, sunglasses, handbags or medication are all irresistible to an opportunist thief. They shouldn’t be left in an unattended vehicle. • Hide electrical items and leave no clues – Make sure you take down sat nav mounts and remove suction cup marks as they’re tell-tale signs that a gadget is stored inside. • Park in well-lit and busy areas – If you don’t have a drive then make sure your car is left in a well-lit area, preferably one with security cameras nearby. • Protect your tools – If you must leave your tools in your van overnight then make sure they’re marked well, this makes them less appealing to thieves looking to sell them on. Keep a photo inventory of all that you have as well.
There are also useful guides to keeping your vehicle secure on the Staffordshire Police website, such as ‘Is your vehicle attracting thieves?’ available at https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/theft-of-a-vehicle/vehicle-attracting-thieves/ and ‘How to keep your vehicle safe and sound’ available at https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/theft-from-a-vehicle/vehicle-safe-and-sound/
If you are a victim of theft from your vehicle, call 101 to report the incident. In an emergency, always dial 999.