Motorists are being urged to be cautious when de-icing their vehicles.
In previous years, Northumbria Police said it has seen an increase in the number of cars stolen after being left unattended with the engine running to de-ice windscreens.
Now as part of Operation Soundwave – a campaign tackling opportunist thieves – owners of commercial and private vehicles are being urged to follow crime prevention measures.
Assistant Chief Constable Jo Farrell said: “With the onset of the cold weather we want to remind people of some basic crime prevention advice to help stop them from being a victim of crime.
“It can be tempting to start the vehicle and leave the engine running while the windows are defrosting.
“We want people to think about the risk this poses – an unattended car or van with the keys in the ignition is an open invitation to thieves.
“Even if the vehicle is nearby or only left for a few moments these thefts can be completely avoided by not leaving the vehicle unattended.
“It’s also worth bearing in mind that insurers may not pay out if the car is stolen in these circumstances.”
Further crime prevention advice is available at www.northumbria.police.uk/vehiclesecurity