Vehicle owners could be left tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket after vehicles were stolen whilst left unattended to de-ice, potentially leaving owners unable to claim on their insurance.
Two vehicles were stolen on Tuesday morning (17th December) at around 9am, a 19-plate black Vauxhall Astra was taken from an address on Sutherland Grove in Norton and a 67-plate Nissan Juke was stolen minutes later on Whitehouse Road in Billingham.
Today, Wednesday 18th December, a 65-plate Volkswagen Golf was taken from outside an address on Kempston Way, Norton, at around 8:30am.
There were also two vehicles taken whilst left unattended to de-ice in Eaglescliffe on Tuesday 19th November.
Sergeant Lee Wilson, from Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “We see incidents like this happening time and time again, and despite repeated warnings we are still seeing vehicles being left unattended whilst they de-ice. Opportunist thieves are out there looking for these vehicles, and within seconds they can jump into someone’s car and drive away.
“People wouldn’t leave thousands of pounds unattended on their driveway, this is essentially the same thing. Insurance companies are unlikely to pay out for these vehicles if they have been left unattended, which could leave people thousands of pounds out of pocket.
“Police are making enquiries to trace these vehicles and those responsible, but simply staying with the vehicle whilst it’s de-icing can save a lot of heartache for owners.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101, or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.