Although vehicle crime is low across West Mercia, every winter the force receives a number of reports from drivers who have had their cars stolen after leaving the engine running, while they wait in the warmth of their home for it to heat up and defrost the windscreen.
Some vehicle owners nip inside for just a few seconds to collect a bag or finish the last mouthful of their breakfast coffee – but that’s all the time an opportunist thief needs. To ‘freeze out’ the thieves, West Mercia Police advises motorists to:
• Clear windscreens with de-icer and a scraper
• Sit in vehicles while the heater de-mists the windscreen
Drivers who ignore this advice are taking big risks. Thieves will drive around residential areas looking for likely targets – when they spot a vehicle with its engine left running on a drive or outside a home, it’s there for the taking.
One person will be dropped off, gets into the target vehicle and simply drives away.
Many of the vehicles are never recovered, and some – especially high value models such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi – may be shipped overseas.
It is also worth remembering if your car is stolen when keys have been left in it, you may find your insurance will not cover you. If your house keys are stolen along with your car, your home is then vulnerable too.
So, this winter, don’t give criminals an easy ride by leaving your car running unattended.