Police say many motorists are making it ‘easy pickings’ to car thieves by leaving their vehicles unlocked – in some cases overnight.
Research carried out recently for offences in Spennymoor and Newton Aycliffe showed around 40% of all thefts from vehicles took place from cars or vans which were left insecure.
In the last month there has been a spate of incidents, including one victim who left their car open all night with the keys in the ignition.
Luckily the thieves did not take the vehicle on this occasion. However the owner will have to explain their actions to their insurance company.
Another victim left their vehicle unlocked overnight. On their return they discovered someone had stolen her iPhone, a sum of cash and her credit and debit cards.
They then spent a number of hours on the phone to her bank cancelling everything and awaiting new cards.
“It is unbelievable that so many people are making life easy for the thieves by not ensuring their vehicles are left locked and secure,” said detective inspector Paul Phillips
“The research shows that almost half of all such crimes could easily be prevented if owners took more responsibility.
“There is little the police can do if members of the public carry on leaving their vehicles unlocked and valuable items in full view. You might as well leave a note on the windscreen telling the thieves to help themselves.
“Owners may not be able to claim on their insurance if it can be established the property was left on view, and your vehicle is insecure.”