Nearly 700 cars in Kettering were checked by cadets in the first two nights of an operation aimed at preventing vehicle crime.
The Kettering unit of the Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets devised the operation to help prevent the potential crime of valuables being targeted in cars in the run-up to Christmas.
A team of cadets patrolled streets in the Kettering area to check to see if any vehicles were unlocked and to make sure no items of value had been left on display – which could be a temptation to thieves.
The work, which was carried out over two evenings during the last two weeks, saw cadets checking almost 700 vehicles and speaking to more than 100 members of the public on the subject of vehicle safety.
A total of 28 vehicles were found to have valuables on show, including an iphone left on the dashboard in one vehicle.
In these cases, cadets worked to try to track down the owners of the vehicles to advise them these items had been left on display.
Patrols were also carried out for public reassurance and to keep an eye out for other forms of criminal activity.
Kettering unit commander Pc Mick Leonard said: “I’m so proud of the work the cadets have done in not only coming up with the idea for this operation but in showing a committed effort to looking out for unlocked vehicles and passing on crucial crime prevention advice to members of the public.
“In the run-up to Christmas, people often find themselves much busier and more distracted and there is always the potential to leave cars unlocked and leave valuables such as newly bought Christmas presents on the seats of cars.
“I would urge the public to take special care to make sure they have left their vehicles secure and to please not leave any items of worth on show in their cars, where they can easily be spotted by potential thieves.”
The cadets will be continuing this operation each week throughout December.
Ann-Marie Lawson, executive director for the Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadet scheme, said: “This is a great example of how cadets can assist in the core business of the emergency services by getting meaningful community safety messages out to the general public.
“This would not be possible without the excellent practical training and innovative curriculum that our cadet leaders deliver.”
NESC is a programme aimed at 13 to 18-year-olds to give young people the opportunity to learn new skills and take an active role in supporting the work of police, fire and ambulance staff.