Motorists are being reminded to ‘lock it or lose it’ while out doing their Christmas shopping.
An increase in vehicles parking in crowded shopping areas means opportunist thieves will be looking to take advantage of cars left unlocked or with property on display.
Police in Northumberland and North Tyneside are urging motorists not to advertise their belongings to thieves by taking valuables with them when they park and keeping cars locked.
Motorists are also advised to try to park in secure car parks, or well lit busy areas, making it difficult for would-be thieves to hang around in public view.
Chief Inspector Helena Barron said: “Thieves are looking for easy ways of stealing gifts and other valuables left in cars – so make sure no valuables are left on show in vehicles.
“Don’t leave shopping bags and valuable items on display, if you have to leave them in the car at all then put them away in the boot where they’re out of sight and double check the car is locked – even if you’re only leaving the vehicle for a few moments.
“Opportunist thieves will often simply go through car parks trying car doors on the off chance the vehicle has been left unlocked and simply grab whatever they can see to hand. They know people are shopping for presents and that vehicles may have expensive items kept inside.
“I’d ask people to make sure they lock vehicles and take anything of value such as cash, mobile phones and sat navs with them. It only takes a few minutes and can ultimately save a lot of frustration and unnecessary expense.”
“Officers will also be keeping a watchful eye on busier car parks and giving motorists friendly advice not to leave their shopping, or other valuables on show in their vehicles. Always remember to keep it safely locked away out of sight in the boot.”
Members of the public are asked to help police and if they do see anyone acting suspiciously around parked cars, then please call the police straightaway on 101.