Car theft warning

PUBLISHED: 10:24 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:24 06 May 2010

POLICE have issued a warning to residents following a spate of burglaries in which thieves have stolen car keys from people s houses and then driven off with their cars. Car owners are being urged by police to be more vigilant with their home security. On

POLICE have issued a warning to residents following a spate of burglaries in which thieves have stolen car keys from people's houses and then driven off with their cars.

Car owners are being urged by police to be more vigilant with their home security.

On the night of January 3 three incidents were reported in Stevenage and St Ippolyts, when a Mercedes C200 sports coupe and two new Ford Mondeos were stolen.

Police report that these crimes often involve prestigious or high-value cars, but warn that recently older vehicles have also been stolen.

Community inspector for Hitchin, Phil Wright, said: "One reason for the emergence of these offences has been the increased security on cars which has made it harder for them to be stolen without keys."

Thieves have used a variety of methods to get hold of people's keys including sticking implements through letterboxes to pull unlocked door handles down.

They also use contraptions to fish keys left on display near to the letterbox.

Insp Wright said: "Simple crime prevention measures could help reduce these risks and include parking cars out of sight in garages, ensuring house doors are properly locked, ensuring car keys are not left in view or reach of the letter box, house alarms and trackers on cars.

"Other products available include memo-cams that record the offenders, and smoke dispensers which, once activated, deny offenders visibility.

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