POLICE are urging residents to remain vigilant following a recent spike in the number of thefts from vehicles in Winnington and Hartford.

Thieves have been targeting vehicles where valuable items including laptops, mobile phones, sat navs, iPods and handbags have been left on show.

Insp Andrew Smith, from Northwich Local Policing Unit, said: "Enquiries in relation to these incidents are ongoing and patrols have been stepped up in hot spot areas in a bid to actively target those responsible.

“The majority of incidents in the area have involved vehicles that were left insecure or had high value items left on show which is why we’re urging residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

"Whether you’re parking outside your home, out shopping or going to the gym, please take a few steps to ensure your vehicle is secure and help prevent yourself from becoming a victim of crime."

Drivers are being urged to:

• Ensure their vehicle is locked and secure when it is unattended − even for a brief moment

• Remember to activate their alarm and/or steering lock

• Remove any valuable items − such as mobile phones, laptops and cash − from the vehicle

• Do not be attempted to hide valuable items in the glove box or under seats

• Remember to remove the sat nav and the fascia of car stereos − ensure you detach the cradle

• Ensure you wipe away the mark from the windscreen that has been left by the suction pad − as this is a tell-tale sign for thieves that a sat nav is being used in the vehicle

• Remove any tools from vans and if possible park the vehicles with the rear doors against a wall

Anyone with any information about vehicle crime in the Northwich area is urged to call Cheshire Police on 101.

Information can also be left anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.