CAR thieves in Chester are still helping themselves to a treasure trove of goodies.
Mobile phones, sat nav systems, laptops and cash have all been stolen from cars recently as owners continue to leave valuables on display.
And in some cases the victims are even leaving their vehicles unlocked.
In a bid to put a stop to this form of opportunistic theft Inspector Ian Thorp, of Chester Outer Neighbourhood Policing Unit, is calling on all local residents to give greater consideration to what is left in unattended vehicles.
He said: “It is sad that a crime which is so easy to prevent is becoming such a problem.
“With a little extra care and forethought people can dramatically reduce their chances of being a victim of this type of theft.
“Simply removing valuable items from unattended vehicles will make them a far less attractive prospect for criminals.”
He added: “It is also a good idea to look at any tell-tale signs in your car that there is – or has recently been – something of value stored there.
“Sat nav systems often leave sucker marks on windows which act as an invitation to thieves to target certain cars. Similarly MP3 players and iPods often need docking stations and leaving these on show tells criminals that the player could be in your car.
“It can take a few extra minutes to remove these things and if you are out and about they can be a bit of a burden to carry around, but they are better in your hands than in those of a thief.”
Chester Outer NPU is committed to taking action against criminal behaviour in all its forms and has seen good results in recent months.
Last month all recorded crime in the area fell by more than 15% while the percentage of crimes detected rose by almost seven per cent.
In the same period vehicle crime fell by almost 14%.
Inspector Thorp added: “Vehicle crime can be difficult to detect as it is often carried out at times when there are few people around and the items taken are often difficult to trace.
“We are having success in preventing vehicle crime and with the help of the public can make further reductions.
“But we also need assistance in bringing offenders to justice when crimes are carried out.
“If you have expensive items that are used in the car make sure they are marked with identifiable features using an ultraviolet pen or other similar system.
“This will ensure that if they turn up during an investigation we can be sure they have been stolen and can return them to the rightful owner.
“I would also ask people in the area to be vigilant. Vehicle crime is opportunist and is usually carried out by thieves who will try to open a number of cars to find one that is unlocked.
“Be on the lookout for people acting suspiciously and report any incidents to police.
“We want to put an end to vehicle crime, but can only have any hope of achieving this if we have the support and cooperation of local people.”
To report a crime in progress ring 999 immediately. To report a crime that has already taken place or to report any suspicious activity ring Cheshire Police on 0845 458 0000. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.