Lax summer security provides ‘easy pickings’ for thieves targeting cars

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Thieves stealing valuables from cars are targeting a city in the region because it is seen as “easy pickings”, police have warned.

A summer spike in items being snatched from vehicles in Leeds prompted a crackdown called Operation Armour yesterday.

Dozens of officers were involved in carrying out arrests of known offenders and raids on premises suspected of harbouring stolen goods across the city.

Det Sgt Chris Craven, of the northwest Leeds proactive crime team, said: “What we have found is that, through the summer months, thefts from motor vehicles have risen.

“When you look at the details of the offences, a lot of them have been committed because the owner has left their car unlocked or with valuables on display.

“People are being more relaxed about their security in the warm weather and the thieves are realising that and coming into the area because it’s easy pickings.”

While most crime in Leeds has fallen year-on-year, between April and July this year there were 146 more thefts from vehicles than during the same period last year – a rise of eight per cent.

Results of yesterday’s operation were still being collated last night, but several arrests had been made and a number of search warrants were executed. At one property police found the remains of a suspected stolen Land Rover Freelander.

Det Chief Insp Fran Naughton, who is overseeing Operation Armour, said: “We accept there has been a bit of a rise in vehicle crime and this operation is designed to tackle it. Days like this are an opportunity for us to have a real blitz.”