Alarming number of unlocked homes and vehicles in Preston and South Ribble prompts warning from police - this is the advice they are giving residents

Overnight on Monday, April 30, nine vehicles were broken into in the Lostock Hall and Walton Le Dale areas. Four thefts from vehicles also occurred in Penwortham.
Overnight on Monday, April 30, nine vehicles were broken into in the Lostock Hall and Walton Le Dale areas. Four thefts from vehicles also occurred in Penwortham.

Police are urging people in Preston and South Ribble to lock their cars and remain vigilant after 13 thefts were reported from unsecured vehicles in just one night.

The thefts occurred overnight on Monday (April 29) across Penwortham, Lostock Hall and Walton-le-Dale and follow a spate of similar thefts in the area in recent weeks.

Between midnight and 5am, thieves stole belongings from nine vehicles in Lostock Hall and Walton-le-Dale and from four cars in Penwortham.

Police said the majority of these vehicles had been left insecure.

Police have now issued a stern reminder to residents to keep a vigilant watch over their property and to always lock their doors.

Monday's thefts in South Ribble follow a spate of similar thefts across Preston.

At least 14 thefts in the Fulwood and Ashton areas led to an overnight police operation on Friday (April 26) in which officers conducted checks on car doors.

The checks revealed that 34 vehicles and 8 houses had been left unlocked overnight.

READ MORE: Police investigation finds 34 unlocked cars and EIGHT unlocked houses in Preston

Following further investigation, police confirmed they had charged a 32-year-old man with 14 theft offences. He has been remanded into custody.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "We are reminding residents across Preston and South Ribble to secure their property after recent incidents and a police operation which revealed a number of cars and homes left unlocked and open to would-be thieves.

"On Friday 27th April, a team of special constabulary officers conducted checks on vehicle doors and found 34 vehicles and 8 houses left unlocked.

"Each of the owners and occupants were spoken to and given advice on how to keep their property safe.

"The recent checks follow a number of thefts in the Preston area where cars, vans and homes had not been locked.

"We know that the vast majority of burglaries involve property being insecure and so we are urging people to help us help them by locking up to keep the thieves out.

"Home and car owners face an increased risk of becoming a victim if their property is left insecure – an open window or door is an open opportunity for thieves."

Police are also urging victims to continue reporting thefts, however minor, to help police understand the scale of the problem.

The spokesman added: "We know from speaking to residents that some thefts have not been reported to us but instead shared on social media and messaging apps.

"We need people to continue reporting when they are victims so we can understand the scale of the issue and take action."

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What you can do to protect your property from thieves

Following the recent spate of thefts in Preston and South Ribble, Lancashire Police are urging people to help reduce crime by taking measures to protect themselves and their property.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "The weather is getting warmer and this, combined with recent incidents we have described, serves as a timely reminder for people about the importance of ensuring windows and doors on cars and homes are secure, particularly when you’re out, in another room or are asleep.

"Leaving them open is an easy opportunity for thieves."

At home
• Close and lock your doors and windows when you go out, even if you are just in the garden.
• Where possible, fit deadlocks to the doors and don’t leave the keys where they can be seen or reached through the letter box.
• Install security lights and consider a burglar alarm.
• Remember to cancel deliveries before you go on holiday.
• Keep an eye on your neighbour’s property and encourage them to do the same for you. Report anything suspicious to the police.

Your vehicle
• Always lock it!
• Never leave items on display, such as shopping bags, handbags, or coats. Don’t leave spare keys or sat navs in your vehicle, even in the glove box.
• At home, don’t leave car keys in clear view from windows or in reach from the letter box.
• If you use your vehicle for work, remove your tools or other valuables if possible. Simple things like reversing onto the drive so that the rear doors on a van can’t be opened easily will help to put thieves off.
• Park where your vehicle can be seen, even if it means walking a bit further.
• Consider steering locks, alarms, tracking devices and immobilisers and if you have them, use them.

READ MORE: Tactical Ops police seize Range Rover outside St George's in Preston

Your shed, garage or outbuilding
• Make sure all outbuildings are in good condition and if they aren’t, don’t leave valuable items inside.
• Use good quality padlocks with covers so they cannot be easily cut off.
• Never leave tools or ladders lying around the garden.
• Make sure the side gate and shed are locked and keep boundary fences, walls and gates in good repair.
• Take photographs of valuable property because if the police recover it after a burglary, this will be proof that they are yours.

Anyone with information or concerns about burglary can contact police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

In an emergency, always dial 999.