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 Green, 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.”
Below, we have listed some ways for you to keep your vehicle safe. There is also some useful guides to keeping your vehicle secure on the Staffordshire Police website, such as ‘Is your vehicle attracting thieves?’ available at and ‘How to keep your vehicle safe and sound’.
You can also report information about crime by contacting the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
How to keep your vehicle safe
1. Always lock it
Fuelling up or popping back into your house to get something are perfect examples of how easy it is to turn your back for a moment and forget your vehicle is unsecured. So get into the habit of locking your vehicle even if you’re only going to be away from it for a moment.
2. Close windows and the sunroof to prevent ‘fishing’
Leaving windows and the sunroof open invites fishing for items through the gap by hand or with, say, a bent coat hanger, which could also be used to unlock a door for them to get in. Thieves can be ingenious. Don’t give them the opportunity.
3. Secure your number plates with tamper-resistant screws
The easiest way to change the identity of a stolen vehicle or avoid speeding tickets and parking tickets is to fit stolen number plates. Using security screws to attach your vehicle’s number plates makes it harder for thieves to get your number.
4. Fit locking, anti-tamper wheel nuts to secure alloy wheels
Stolen wheels are valuable, either as parts or for their scrap value. Using locking wheel nuts reduces the risk of your vehicle’s wheels being stolen.
5. Secure anything that’s on the outside of your vehicle
Anything left on roof-racks, tailgate racks, holiday top boxes or in tool chests are easily stolen when the vehicle is parked. The use of cable locks, padlocks and self-locking tools chests, which are secured to the vehicle, makes them more secure, but still, don’t leave things in them if you can avoid it. For further information and advice, visit Sold SecureExternal Link.
6. Take it with you or hide it
Your mobile phone, coins for the car park, sunglasses, packs of medication or other items that can earn quick cash are irresistible to the opportunist thief. Remember, the cost of replacing a window is often much more than that of what’s stolen. And it should go without saying that wallets, handbags, purses and credit cards should never be left in an unattended vehicle.
7. Hide electrical items and leave no clues
Leaving sat nav mounts, suction cup marks on windows or cables on view gives it away that you have left a Sat Nav, smartphone or other devices in your car. Even if they can’t see the Sat Nav or iPad they might still break in to see if it’s stored in the car, out of sight.
8. Tool theft from vans
Vans are often targeted by thieves for the tools stored inside. If you have to leave tools in a van overnight, it’s a good idea to mark them clearly with your name/company name and address using paint pens and seal with a clear lacquer spray. Alternatively, you can use a variety of other property marking systems. Items that are clearly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on.
Consider using a lockable cabinet within your van to store tools – a number of security rated products are available. Small cameras are also designed to record inside vehicles. Visit securedbydesign.com for more details.
You can also take photographs of items of value, make a note of the serial numbers and consider registering them online at a property register site.
9. Park in well-lit and busier areas
It can take less than 30 seconds to break into a vehicle. Parking in well-lit areas and busy streets increases the chances of a thief being seen, so they’ll probably steer clear.
10. Take your documents with you
Having a vehicle’s registration and insurance documents could let a thief pretend to be the owner. Which means they could sell it on quite easily. So, never leave any documents in the vehicle.
11. Choose your car park wisely
If possible, always try to park in well-lit and staffed car parks or those with a Park Mark safer parking award. To find one, simply check out Park Mark.
|Here at Tamworth Informed, we want to say a huge thank you to all NHS Staff, Care Workers, Emergency Service Workers, Shop Staff and anyone else helping to keep us safe, healthy, fed, watered or connected to vital services during this difficult of the 3rd National Lockdown. Please stay safe and look after each other.|
On 4 January the Prime Minister announced that England was to enter a National Lockdown, meaning that we should all stay at home.