Stoke-on-Trent police broadcast car crime warning from roof of car
POLICE are driving around neighbourhoods using a loudspeaker to urge residents to lock their cars.
The crime prevention message is being broadcast over a system attached to the roof of a police car.
The operation is being carried out in areas where there has been an increase in vehicle crime in recent weeks.
A truck featuring an advertising board giving security advice has also been driving around crime hotspots.
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Inspector Matt Bennion, from Stoke-on-Trent North Local Policing Team, said: "We are encouraging members of the community to lock up their cars and not to leave valuables inside.
"The police vehicle with loudspeakers is driving around estates playing a message, followed by an advertising van that gives a number of messages.
"Officers are also going around the streets we have identified as hotspot areas to deliver leaflets and speak to members of the community."
The operation kicked off yesterday in areas of Cobridge and Sneyd Green, where there have been 11 reported thefts from vehicles in the past six weeks.
Later on, officers drove to Norton Green, where 13 cars have been broken into over the same period.
Inspector Bennion, pictured below, said: "We have seen an increase in vehicle crime in these areas, so we want to remind people to be careful.
"Quite a lot of people who have been victims of crime have left their cars insecure.
"People should not leave things on display or in their glove box. All too often we have vehicles broken into where a sat-nav holder or charger is left in view, which indicates to an opportunist thief that a sat-nav is likely to be stored away somewhere."
The initiative was welcomed by crime victim Lisa Thomson, who lives in one of the areas targeted by officers.
The 38-year-old, of Bethell Road, Sneyd Green, said: "My husband works away as a tanker driver so he takes a DVD player with him. One night he came home and left it in the car on the drive, and forgot to lock the car.
"The next morning someone had been in the car and stolen it. It was so close to the house it was unbelievable that no one heard them. Our two dogs were asleep in the kitchen and never heard it.
"It's taught us to make sure the car is locked and not to leave anything in there. We told all our neighbours to be on their guard too.
"When it happens to you it makes you feel sick. The police operation is a good idea if it makes people think."
But some residents were not impressed with the police's tactics. David Cyples, of Crossways Road, Sneyd Green, said: "I think it's a waste of money. How much is it costing to have all those officers doing that?
"They would be better off trying to catch drug dealers."
The operation will target hotspots in Blurton today and tomorrow.