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Police are appealing for witnesses and information and are urging motorists to ensure they lock their vehicles after a series of thefts from cars happened between Sunday, October 16 and Wednesday, October 19 in Brookmans Park, Hatfield and Potters Bar. The cars were either interfered with or had items stolen from them and a large proportion were left unlocked.

The offences took place in the following locations:

* Four offences happened in George’s Wood
* Nine offences happened in Brookmans Avenue
* Five offences happened in Mymms Drive
* Two offences happened in Calder Avenue
* Three offences happened in Moffats Lane

Offences also happened in Northwood Road East, Kingswell Road, Colesdale and the Meadway in Potters Bar during the same period.

Various items including sunglasses, cash, Sat Navs, bags and clothing were stolen from the cars.

Welwyn Hatfield Safer Neighbourhood Team Inspector Jeff Scott said: “It is vitally important that motorists lock their vehicles before leaving them, even if they are on a driveway, as leaving cars insecure leaves them vulnerable to opportunist thieves. Not only do you risk having any items left in your car stolen, you also may be invalidating your car insurance as companies are likely to refuse to cover the cost of stolen possessions if a car was left insecure.

“We are doing all we can to locate those responsible for these crimes, including stepping up patrols in affected areas, and I would urge anyone who has witnessed anyone behaving suspiciously in the streets affected to contact us as soon as possible via the police non-emergency number 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.”

* On Friday, October 21, following proactive police investigations into car crime in Hatfield, 18-year-old Joe Lindsay – from Tottenham Road in London – pleaded guilty at Hatfield Remand Court to two theft from motor vehicle offences. The crimes happened in Moffats Lane in Brookmans Park and Northaw Road East in September. He also pleaded guilty to possession of a Class B drug and was sentenced to a 12 month community order a requirement to perform 75 hours of unpaid work.

Inspector Scott added: “In September the Constabulary launched a new campaign called Operation Chariot which aims to deliver important crime prevention advice encouraging drivers to “defend” their vehicles and incorporates a range of proactive activities by officers to catch those involved in offending.

“As part of Operation Chariot, we would advise motorists to consider the following crime prevention advice to protect their vehicles:
* Never leave valuables on display
* Never leave tools in your van unless they are secured in an approved* tool safe
* Fit good quality approved* additional external locks to van doors
* Engrave or mark tools and their boxes with your postcode and house number
* Use an approved steering lock or gear clamp, and remember to set your immobiliser and alarm if you have one.
* If away from home consider parking your vehicle in a ‘Park Mark’ approved car park. www.parkmark.co.uk.

To help prevent your vehicle being stolen:

* Never hand vehicle keys over to a third party or leave the vehicle unattended at a valet parking, car wash or other parking places, where criminals can gain access to the vehicle and code a key electronically.
* Consider fitting an ‘OBD safe’, a secure lockable device that fits over the vehicle’s on board diagnostic (OBD) port, in the vehicle cabin. This prevents criminals using software to code a key from the vehicle.
* Consider fitting a dual band tracking device that works on VHF/UHF and GPS, to make it more difficult for the tracking signal being blocked.
* Criminals can also employ remote/keyless entry jamming equipment so make sure your car is locked by trying the door before leaving it.
* Ensure that ‘home’ on your vehicle ‘Sat Nav’ is shown as the post code of your local police station and not your actual home address.
* Use an approved* steering wheel lock and never leave your vehicle unlocked – even for a moment.”
*We recommend products that are “Sold Secure”, see their website for details: www.soldsecure.com or “Secured By Design”, see their website: www.securedbydesign.com.

More advice on how to make your vehicle safe is available at: www.herts.police.uk/crimeprevention.
Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to get in contact via the police non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, you can contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will never need to go to court.

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