Warning to drivers as criminals steal cars

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DRIVERS who leave keys in the ignition are being warned they could end up being the next victim of crime in Kirklees.

Kirklees police are asking motorists to help them and themselves following 18 car thefts in just four weeks in which drivers had left keys in ignitions while either going into shops or leaving their vehicles while warming windscreens.

A police spokesman declined to name the locations where the thefts have happened other than saying some had taken place in Huddersfield.

Acting DS James Bellhouse of Kirklees CID said: “It shouldn’t really need to be said, but people must remember to lock their cars when they leave them in the open, even if they are left on their own driveways.

“By leaving their vehicles vulnerable in this way, residents couldn’t make it much easier for sneak thieves and are making themselves targets for theft.

“Experience shows us that the majority of car thieves are pure opportunists and, given how secure modern car locks are these days, they will move on if a car is securely locked.

“Given that claiming on insurance for a stolen car generally leads to a loss of no-claims bonus and subsequent higher premiums it really is in drivers interests to help themselves and spend a second locking up.”

As well as the theft of cars, thieves across Kirklees have also been busy breaking into vehicles to steal valuables, from tools to sat navs.

In some cases, sat navs have been left attached to windows and cash and mobile phones have been left on dashboards.

In a number of other cases cars were again left unlocked, allowing thieves clear access to look around and take anything of value.

Police advice is to lock all doors and keep windows closed. Drivers should never leave credit cards, cheque books or vehicle documents in the glove compartment.

Even a coat or bag might tempt a thief to believe that it contains something of value.

Anything of value should be locked in the boot or, ideally, removed from the vehicle altogether.

And sat nav harnesses should not be left attached to windscreens as this acts as an advert to a thief.