A SERIES of smash and grab raids on cars has led police to issue a stark warning to motorists.
Police are urging vehicle owners living in the Fens and Greatham areas of Hartlepool to keep their cars locked, put valuables out of sight and be alert to avoid becoming another victim while they try and catch those responsible.
Crooks have been smashing windows and taking belongings from cars while a number of attempted thefts of the cars themselves have been reported.
From May 20, 13 car crimes were reported in the area, which police say is much higher than normal.
Inspector Lee Rukin, of Hartlepool Police, said: “Hartlepool neighbourhood police teams are working closely with Hartlepool CID and the dedicated Street Crime Unit in identifying those responsible.
“Vehicle crime is an emotional crime. To wake up on a morning and find your car has been broken into and is potentially un-driveable affects peoples lives.
It significantly jeopardises their ability to carry out routine, but essential tasks such as getting to work or taking their children school.”
PC Steve Cranston, a crime prevention officer for the south of the town, said: “Although crime is down in the area, the recent spate of car crime needs to be addressed.
“We urge motorists to ensure their cars are protected and belongings are kept out of sight.”
Police are also appealing for witnesses to any car crime in the area.
Anyone with information can call Hartlepool Police on (01642) 326326 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.