POLICE in Penarth are warning motorists to remove all valuables from their vehicles following a spike in car crime in the area.

Police are reminding motorists about the importance of ensuring their vehicles are locked and all valuables removed when left unattended.

This follows a number of incidents in Penarth, Sully and Dinas Powys, involving insecure vehicles when doors were left unlocked, or windows partly open, were targeted across the area.

A number of vehicles where valuable items had been left clearly on display were also targeted after proving a tempting and easy opportunity for thieves.

The incidents resulted in items such as sat navs, mobile phones and handbags being stolen from cars.

Penarth neighbourhood sergeant Ioan Jones said: “Crime has been falling in recent years. However, all too often motorists leave personal belongings visible in their cars when they have left them parked and unattended. Many motorists also feel that they can leave their car unlocked or with windows open, providing a potential thief with an easy opportunity to have a look for items of value in the car.

“Opportunistic crime such as this can easily be avoided if motorists remember to remove their valuables and lock their cars.

“I urge car owners not to become complacent. Do not leave anything of value in your vehicle when it’s parked and unattended - even if only for a brief period of time. You should always take any valuables with you and make sure all doors and windows are locked before leaving your car.

“If you see anyone acting suspiciously near parked vehicles in your area, please do not hesitate to report it to the police on 101. It is by working together that we can continue to keep the area safe.”

Sergeant Jones added some helpful tips to keep your vehicle safe and avoid becoming a victim of opportunistic car crime:

1. Never leave anything on display when you leave your vehicle. Even an old coat or a plastic bag can tempt a thief.

2. Always ensure that your vehicle is locked and secure before you leave it unattended.

3. When parking at home, always use your garage (if you have one), and lock both your vehicle and the garage door. If you don't have a garage, try to park in a well-lit, open place.

4. Car alarms can deter thieves not only from stealing your vehicle, but also from taking items from it - so it’s worth investing in having one fitted.

5. Mark all your equipment (like your car stereo, for example) with your vehicle registration number.