DRIVERS who leave things on show in their cars are having flyers put through their letterboxes to warn them they could fall foul of thieves.
The move is part of Operation Mercedes, which aims to stop the number of break-ins to cars and vans in the borough.
It comes after a man was charged with two thefts from earlier this month.
David Pinnock, of Victoria Road, South Shields, is accused of breaking into a car in Harton Rise, South Shields, on February 5 and stealing a pair of sunglasses, and stealing a phone from a car parked in Collingwood Street, South Shields, a day later.
He is due to appear at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on March 5.
The leaflets, funded through South Tyneside’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, give crime prevention advice to stop people becoming a victim of theft.
They will be distributed in areas where car crime has been committed or where items have been left in vehicles. Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton said: “We are determined to remind motorists of the importance of not leaving items on show in their vehicles.
“Many of these thefts are the work of opportunist thieves who will break into a vehicle when they see something to steal as they walk past.
“This doesn’t have to be anything of great value – in many cases items are only worth small sums.
“However, this doesn’t stop criminals causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage to car doors and windows to steal a bit of loose change.
“By taking simple precautions, those living and working in and those visiting the borough can ensure they don’t become a victim of crime.”
Officers are continuing to patrol areas and take a note of vehicle registrations where goods have been left on display so a letter can be sent to the owner.
The Northumbria Police mounted section has also been used to try to deter and target thieves.