Opportunist car thefts on the rise

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Opportunist thieves are targeting unlocked vehicles across Wealden

More than 14 vehicles were broken into, with mainly small change and other small items being taken, over a seven-day period in Wealden.

Vehicle owners are being urged by Sussex Police to lock vehicles when leaving them unattended and to remove all valuables from view or from the vehicle.

Wealden District Commander Chief Inspector Dick Coates said: “Each of these crimes has been committed on insecure vehicles. Every one of these breaks could have been prevented just by locking the car. I would urge all owners to lock and check your car as well as removing all valuable items from view. Remember even a few pounds left in a car can become a temptation to thieves.”

To discuss these issues further, you can contact your local neighbourhood policing team by emailing district.wealden@sussex.pnn.police.uk or ringing 101 extension 68310

Sussex Police is urging all motorists to follow some simple advice.

Lock the doors and close the windows when you leave your car, however long you are leaving it for

When parking at home, always use your garage if you have one and lock both your vehicle and your garage. If you don’t have a garage, try to park in a well-lit, open place

When parking outside, always try to park your car in an attended car park. Look for a public car park which is part of the police approved Park Mark scheme and displays the Park Mark® brand. Some car parks also have ‘Secure Car Park’ accreditation – look for the sign

Don’t leave anything on display. Even an old coat or plastic bag can be a tempting target for a thief

Remove the stereo if you can

Don’t keep valuables or important documents in the glove box. Leave the glove box open to show there’s nothing inside

Tuck in wing mirrors and put the aerial down to discourage vandals

Never store your car’s documents in the car

A Thatcham-approved immobiliser or steering lock can help secure older vehicles

Have the windows etched with the car’s vehicle registration number (VRN) and make a note of its chassis number

Keep your car keys in a safe place, even in your house, so that someone breaking-in cannot steal your car too

Get an alarm fitted. Alarms can deter thieves not only from stealing your vehicle, but also from taking items from it. You can get more information about alarms, immobilisers and other security devices by phoning the Vehicle Security National Helpline on 0870 550 2006 or the Sold Secure Helpline on 01327 264 687

Secure your wheels using locking wheel nuts

Mark all equipment, e.g. car stereo, with your car registration number