DRIVERS who leave valuable goods on display in their cars after a spate of thefts in South Tyneside are being sent letters warning them they are sitting ducks.
Police patrols in the Riverside, West Shields and East Boldon areas were mounted after goods were snatched from a number of vehicles.
They found many cars still being left insecure – an open invitation to opportunist thieves.
Patrols are being stepped up in theft hot spots and the owners of cars found to be insecure or with property left on display will receive letters from the police, saying they have left themselves vulnerable to crime and pointing out how easy it would have been for their property to be stolen.
If the car owner lives in the immediate vicinity, officers will visit their home to give face to face advice.
In recent incidents, thieves have made off with satnavs, money and tools.
On the first day of the operation, officers found handbags, holdalls, clothing, CDs and personal papers all on display in vehicles while on patrol.
Peter Sutton, Neighbourhood Inspector for Riverside and West Shields, said: “Thieves are on the look out for any small, easily taken items and will cause major damage to a car just to steal a small amount of loose change left on view.
“As always we would urge people to remove not only valuable items from their car, but any goods that could tempt passing thieves.
“We aim to reinforce this message by sending the letters out to those motorists who have left items in their car, and hope they will think twice before doing it another time.
“Items should be stored in the boot, or better still, not left at all in an unattended vehicle at all.
“Most motorists wouldn’t dream of leaving large sums of cash on display in their cars, but we need to drive the message home that items, including satnavs, mobile phones, laptops, bags and cameras all attract the unwanted attention of criminals.
“As well as the cash value of goods taken, there is also the inconvenience of the damage caused which can put the vehicle off the road for several days.
“It can also affect a person’s livelihood if tools are stolen from work vans.
“By taking simple measures, you can make sure you don’t become the victim of opportunist thieves.”
Further crime prevention advice is available on the Northumbria Police website, www.northumbria.police.uk.
For further information about policing in South Tyneside, follow @NPSouthTyneside or like Facebook.com/NPSouthTyneside