Seven arrested in crackdown on thefts from vehicles

Seven men have been arrested in connection with vehicle crime.

Seven men have been arrested in connection with vehicle crime. - Credit: Archant

Seven men have been arrested in connection with vehicle crime in North Herts, as police crack down on thefts from cars and vans across the area.

Plain-clothed and uniformed officers have been deployed to hotspot areas, but residents are being urged to do more to protect their vehicles from opportunist thieves.

Areas being targeted include Baldock, Hitchin, Ickleford, Knebworth, Letchworth, Preston, and Royston.

Officers are asking motorists to behave responsibly and take extra precautions when they leave their vehicles unattended, as many of those targeted appear to have been left unsecure.

Items taken include trade tools, mobile phones, sat navs, sunglasses, clothes, watches, iPods and cash.

North Herts Chief Inspector Sally Phillips said: “We are appealing for people not to leave items of any value in their vehicle, as it is just a green light to thieves.

“It would appear that they will take almost anything that is left on display.

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“At times a third of our vehicle crimes are as a result of vehicles being left insecure and this could have an impact on your car insurance.

“You may not be able to claim on your insurance for any of the items stolen and it could also affect your no claims policy.

“Please double check that your car is locked before you leave it.

“If you do need to leave trade tools in the vehicle when it is not in use please take extra precautions to keep them safe. Fit extra security to your van and security mark all tools to make them less attractive to thieves and easier to trace if they are stolen.

“If you own a vehicle which has a keyless start function, make sure you keep the keys well away from the vehicle and preferably in a Faraday bag or similar, to stop would be thieves being able to start your car remotely.

“My local safer neighbourhood teams will be working with partner agencies and businesses to implement some crime prevention initiatives in the coming months.

“Please continue to report any suspicious activity and if you believe a crime is in process call 999 immediately.”

Those arrested include:

• Richard Lidbetter, 36, of Theoblad Street in Borehamwood, was arrested on January 16 and charged with eight offences in Letchworth, including theft of a motor vehicle in Radburn Way, driving without insurance, driving without a license, dangerous driving (two offences), inconsiderate driving, resisting arrest and criminal damage. He has been remanded into custody.

• Shane Hodson, 37, of Poplar Close in Sandy, has been charged with theft from a motor vehicle in Norton Road, Letchworth, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified on January 27.

He is appearing at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.

• Robert Chubb, 31, was charged with theft from a motor vehicle in Wynn Close in Baldock on January 5.

Chubb was on licence and has been recalled to prison.

• A 16-year-old boy from Hitchin has been charged with theft of a motor vehicle in Sunnyside Road in Hitchin on February 6.

He has been bailed to appear at Stevenage Youth Court on March 7.

• Craig Batten, 43, of Walsworth Road in Hitchin, was wanted for failing to appear at court for vehicle interference and was arrested on February 11.

He was sentenced to 15 weeks in prison.

•An 18-year-old man from Leighton Buzzard and a 19-year-old man of no fixed address have been arrested in connection with the theft of number plates from a vehicle in South Road in Baldock on January 19.

They are both currently on police bail.

If you witness anyone behaving suspiciously around vehicles and you believe a crime may be in progress, call 999 immediately.

Any other information should be reported via the non-emergency number 101, or online at

Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the charity’s anonymous online form at

No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will never need to go to court.