Motorists warned to stay with their cars on frosty mornings
This week’s cold snap has seen many drivers scraping their windscreens for the first time this season. Leicestershire Police is advising motorists to stick with their vehicles as they clear ice and snow from windows – or they could be left out in the cold.
Last year at least 13 South Leicestershire motorists who nipped back inside their homes while leaving vehicles to defrost with engines running came out to find their vehicles had been driven off by thieves.
Sergeant Gavin Drummond, from Oadby and Wigston local policing unit, said: “Modern cars are difficult to steal without their keys, so potential car thieves welcome the opportunity of taking vehicles which are left empty with their engines running.
“They pay attention to the forecast, get up early, and go down residential roads which are often in otherwise low-crime areas. In seconds they can make off with a high value car.”
The 13 vehicles reported stolen last year in South Leicestershire were in a wide variety of locations – Oadby (two vehicles), Groby (two vehicles), Wigston, Lutterworth, Broughton Astley, Burbage, Hinckley, Glen Parva, Narborough, Leicester Forest East and Sapcote. Most were not recovered.
It is also an offence to leave an unattended vehicle with its engine running on a public road, because of the danger it could be involved in an accident.
A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said leaving your vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition could be seen as not taking reasonable care, and might invalidate any insurance claim if your vehicle is stolen in this way.
Nick Starling, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said: “No one wants to freeze while defrosting their car. But tempting though it is, specially on freezing mornings, don’t leave your vehicle with the engine running to warm up, while you nip back inside – even if it is only for a couple of minutes, as it only takes seconds for thieves to strike. Stay with your vehicle while it warms up, so that it is you that drives away in a warm car, not a thief.”
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