POLICE are appealing to vehicle owners to be vigilant after an increase in thefts in the Redditch area.

Officers have seen an increase in the number of vehicles attacked on South West district, in particular in Astwood Bank, Crabbs Cross and Webheath, as well as in Batchley.

Figures for these areas show the number of thefts from vehicles rose from 19 in October to 32 in November, 26 in December, and 32 in January to date.

Local Policing Officer for Redditch South West PC Richard Waterhouse said: “Offenders are walking around in the early hours, trying car door handles.

“Those that are found to be unlocked are being searched and any valuables inside are being stolen.

“We are working hard to resolve these issues, including increasing patrols, but are asking for assistance from our communities in securing vehicles, removing property and reporting any suspicious behaviour.

“The single most important thing owners need to do is ensure their vehicles are locked and secured, including all doors, the boot, sunroof and windows.”

Police have also received reports of five vehicles in Wythall, one in Hollywood and one in Shirley being entered between Thursday, January 16 to Friday, January 17, with various items stolen including a sat nav and wallet.

Witnesses or anyone with information about vehicle crime are asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or contact Crimestoppers via the website crimestoppers-uk.org.