Insp Daryl Lyon from Northants Police said: “In the past week we’ve had reports of about 40 vehicle crimes in Wellingborough – many of these are cars that have been unlocked.
“We’re urging people to double check their cars are locked and remove valuables to make life as difficult as possible for criminals.
“Opportunist thieves can steal an item from a car in seconds and so it’s vital that people lock doors and close windows every time they leave their vehicle.”
“People leave possessions on car or van seats, keep expensive items such as sat navs in glove compartments and leave bags or other valuables on display; perhaps not thinking that thieves only have to take a quick look inside and their belongings can suddenly become a target.
“Many of these crimes happen at night and we’re also asking people to let us know of any suspicious activity in their streets to help us to bring offenders to justice.
“Call 101, report online and call 999 if a crime is in progress.”
“ We have also seen a sharp rise in the theft of car batteries this week so I would urge those involved in the purchase or sale of scrap metals to be extra aware when offered car batteries.
“It is an offence to buy or sell scrap for cash and illegal to purchase scrap if you suspect it is stolen.”
Tips for protecting your vehicle and its content
Don’t leave anything on display in your vehicle. Even an old coat on the back seat can be a temptation for a thief to steal first - and then think about value later.
When you leave your car, take your belongings with you. If you can’t and have no other option, then lock them in your boot.
In particular, avoid leaving the following items in your car: mobile phones; laptops; credit and debit cards; cheque books; cash; vehicle registration documents and private mail (especially with your address on it).
Security devices are a good deterrent for thieves, such as electronic immobilisers (which prevent cars from starting) and mechanical immobilisers such as steering wheel locks.
When you leave your vehicle, always remove the ignition key and lock all doors. It only takes a few seconds for a thief to jump into your vehicle and drive away. This should be remembered at all times – even when paying for petrol or popping into a shop.
Lock all doors and close all windows and the sunroof every time you leave your vehicle unattended, however briefly.
Business drivers should also be on the alert for irregularities in loading procedures and report this if seen.
Where possible, business drivers should use pre-planned secure overnight parking facilities and these should be decided before the journey is started.