POLICE have revealed car raiders are on the rampage in Fylde.
Officers said motorists are opening themselves up to becoming victims of crime by leaving their cars unlocked – giving thieves the opportunity to steal satellite navigation systems, clothes, loose change and even disabled badges.
There were 38 autocrime offences reported across the borough in October with hot spot areas identified as Fairhaven, Ansdell, Heyhouses and central ward in St Annes.
Most of the break-ins happened between midnight and 6am when cars were left unlocked so neighbourhood police teams are now carrying out extra night-time patrols.
Sgt Wendy Coulson, from the neighbourhood police team, said: “Thieves have been stealing a range of items including wheel nuts, fuel, disabled badges left on display, clothing, sat navs and even loose change.
“If a thief sees something which may be of value they’ll take their chances – especially if you’ve made it easy for them by leaving it unlocked.”
Officers are conducting leaflet drops and contacting the owners of insecure vehicles to tell them to ensure they lock their cars.
Sgt Coulson added: “Make sure you wind windows up and lock the doors when you get out of your vehicle – even if you are only popping into a shop.
“Don’t leave items on display – you may think that the few pence you’ve left out isn’t worth taking but anything can prove to be temptation for a thief.
“Remove valuables from the car and get rid of any signs – such as suction marks on the windscreen or MP3 cables – that show valuables have been in the car as a thief may assume you have stored them in the glove box.”
Coun Sue Fazackerley, councillor for central ward, today spoke of her disgust.
She said: “Stealing disabled badges is on a par with taking charity collection boxes. It’s a very dirty trick.
“But they are foolish because on these badges carry the registration numbers to which they are issued.
“People need to be wary when they’re leaving their cars – they need to make sure their cars are locked and if they must leave a bag, make sure it’s in the car boot.”
The warning comes after owners were asked to store vehicles in garages at night whenever possible following a series of catalytic converter thefts in Lytham and St Annes last month.
Police said a number of vehicles in the two Fylde towns had been targeted for the metallic parts, with thieves cutting them out from underneath vehicles when left overnight.
But Insp Keith Ogle, Fylde’s geographic inspector, insisted: “It’s not a massive crime wave but the majority of thefts from vehicles are as a result of people leaving their vehicles unlocked.
“It’s just sheer laziness, I don’t know why people are doing it. The message is lock it or lose it.”
Anyone with details about vehicle crime can contact police on 0845 1 25 35 45.