The areas where you are most likely to fall victim to number plate theft in Reigate and Banstead borough have been revealed through new figures.
Nork tops the list, with Horley and Redhill close behind, according to a list released by Surrey Police this week which details all reported number plate thefts since January 1.
Police say the problem is mounting with thieves taking number plates to use on cars for crimes such as stealing petrol.
Neighbourhood Inspector Richard Haycock told the Mirror: "We have had an increase, it is also obvious but fair to say that they are being stolen so they can be used in crime.
"Theft of petrol from petrol stations is one of those crimes but they are used for others. They are used to badge up other vehicles used by criminals to commit all sorts of offences.
"It can be really difficult to distil hard and fast figures because [number plate thefts] are classified as thefts from motor vehicles."
Recent rises in petrol prices are being blamed for the increase in number plate thefts, with drivers trying to dodge soaring costs by putting stolen number plates on their cars and driving away without paying after filling up their car at the fuel station.
But residents in affected areas admitted they were unaware of the potential danger their car could be in.
Banstead resident Rosie Thomlinson, 41, said: "I haven't heard about it. This is an affluent area so I suppose they come here for that, but I had no idea."
Speaking at a meeting of Horley Town Council on May 15, following a meeting with Surrey Police, Chairman Richard Olliver said: "Number plate theft is on the increase.
"People snap the number plate on the cars and go and get petrol and then rush off without paying for it, and the garages assume the wrong car's come.
"That's the main reason for the number plate thefts, particularly with the high price of petrol these days."
Surrey Police say there is an easy solution to the problem of number plate thefts.
The force is offering free “anti-theft” screws, which cannot be unscrewed, to deter thieves and offer residents peace of mind.
“To get [the number plate] off you would have to break it and then you’ve got a broken number plate which is no use to anybody," said Neighbourhood Inspector Richard Haycock.
The screw kits, which are funded by the local Community Safety Partnership, are available to all Reigate and Banstead residents.
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