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Defrosting VW stolen in Barnt Green

Posted on January 16 2013 at 4:00:03

Police have issued a fresh warning for motorists not to leave cars unattended with the engine running to defrost following the theft of a VW Golf in Barnt Green.

It was later recovered around five miles away in Wythall after it was spotted by an eagle-eyed Community Support Officer.

The silver Golf had been taken from the driveway of a house in Mearse Lane at around 7.50am this morning (January 16) after it was left for a short time with the keys in the ignition and the engine running.

The vehicle’s details were circulated to officers in the area. At 8.40am CSO Vicky Elliott was on patrol with PC Steve Hackett in Wythall when she noticed the car parked in May Farm Close.

There was no one in the Golf which has now been taken for forensic examination before being returned to its owner.

Officers want to hear from anyone who may have seen it being stolen or noticed someone parking it in May Farm Close. Anyone with information should call officers on the non-emergency number 101, quoting the incident reference 56-S-160113.

The theft has prompted a fresh warning during the current cold snap for car owners not to leave their vehicles unattended while being defrosted.

PC Hackett was one of a number of officers taking part in daily morning patrols in North Worcestershire looking for vehicles left vulnerable to theft while de-icing outside homes.

This morning (Wednesday) he spoke to the owner of a BMW in Wythall who had left it on the driveway with the engine running while he went back into the house.

He was knocking on the door for several minutes before the owner opened it to find him standing there with his car keys.

PC Hackett said: “He was apologetic and embarrassed but doubtless grateful it was us who found it unattended and not a thief.

“Every morning when we are doing these checks we normally find one or two cars left like this to defrost, usually on driveways but sometimes outside properties on the road which is actually illegal.

“Owners don’t seem to realise that leaving a car like that can invalidate your insurance if it is stolen, which means you won’t get your car or your money back.

“You wouldn’t leave £20,000 in a safe on your drive with the key in the lock, so why do it with a car? People need to start looking at it like that because a car can be a big investment - therefore why take the risk?”

Bromsgrove Local Policing Inspector Sharron Cannings added:  “Despite repeated warnings motorists continue to leave their cars at the mercy of thieves while warming up and de-icing them.

“Nobody seems to think it’s going to happen to them but every winter people get caught cold by car thieves in this way.

“As today’s incident illustrates, leaving your car with the engine running in icy conditions is an invitation to opportunist thieves who are looking out for this.”
Anyone with information about those involved in car thefts can also pass on details anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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