Christmas shoppers in South Tyneside are being warned not to become victims of car crime
Northumbria Police say drivers are asking for trouble if they advertise the presents they've bought to thieves by leaving them in their cars.
The warning is part of the force's 12 messages of Christmas campaign in with the first message reminding Christmas shoppers not to leave shopping on display in an empty vehicle - and to make sure they lock their vehicle.
Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt said car thieves often take a chance and try car doors on the off chance the vehicle has been left unlocked.
They are also tempted by expensive items being left on display.
She said: "Make it difficult for thieves. Don't leave shopping bags and valuable items on display, put them in the boot where they're out of sight and double check the car is locked - even if you're only leaving the vehicle for a few moments.
"Thieves want easy pickings, leaving a vehicle unlocked just makes it even easier for them. They know people will be buying lots of expensive items at this time of year and will often simply go through car parks trying car doors on the off chance the vehicle has been left unlocked.
"Likewise, if you leave valuable items - even if it's in a shopping bag - on display a thief can clearly see that there is something worth stealing inside so it may be a bit more work for them to get into the vehicle but they know they'll be get something for it.
"Our advice is take some simple crime prevention steps and don't let thieves steal your Christmas."
For further information on vehicle security visit the Northumbria Police website: