Police are warning motorists to lock their cars after a spate of thefts in South Tyneside.
Thieves had been targeting vehicles in South Shields, particularly in the Westoe Crown area.
Officers are warning people to lock vehicles as they believe motorists are trying car doors to find ones left unlocked in order to search inside and steal anything of value.
Crime prevention leaflets will be distributed in the area to remind people of the steps they can take to help ensure they don’t fall victim to these thieves.
Valuables should also be removed from view.
Neighbourhood Inspector John Smith said: “Our message is quite simple - don’t leave vehicle security to chance and if you leave your car unlocked that is exactly what you’re doing.
“Thieves look for easy targets and it doesn’t get much easier than an unlocked vehicle.
“It takes a few moments to lock a vehicle, and more importantly even less time to double check it’s locked.
“We know people lead busy lives and are often distracted, on most occasions they probably lock the vehicle automatically without even realising, but the one time they don’t they’re not just leaving the car unlocked, they’re leaving it open to thieves.
“We just want people to a bit more mindful when they leave their vehicle and get into the habit of double checking it is locked.
“It is always better to check than leave it to chance.
“Valuables should also be removed from view – even if the door is locked if a thief can see something worth stealing inside they will give it a try.”
Regular police patrols will be carried out in the affected areas, in particular overnight.