Look after your things – or the police may have to
POLICE officers are trying the doors of parked cars, and may take valuables left on display in unlocked ones into custody.
The new initiative under Operation Klaxon is designed to keep vehicles, and property in them, safe, and areas around Redhill, Merstham and Horley are being targeted.
If doors are unlocked, police will try and find the owner. If this is not possible, they will remove valuables and place a red sticker on the vehicle to advise the owner.
Neighbourhood Inspector Richard Haycock said: "At first sight, people will think 'oh no' and think they have a ticket – it's designed with that in mind – but there is an advice leaflet inside.
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"One of our primary duties is to protect property – in some cases in the face of the driver's ambivalence to protect their own property.
"If we find something particularly valuable and the owner can't be found I'd support my officers taking it into police custody until they are traced."
Insp Haycock added incidents of theft from vehicles across the north of Reigate and Banstead borough in particular were on the increase – particularly from secluded places like driveways.
He added: "There is a particular leaning among some criminals to gain access to people who have driveways, particularly because people feel more relaxed about securing their car there and removing their property.
"Cash, and small electronic items are going, and that leaves us with a particular challenge as offences are being carried out somewhere which is harder for us to patrol – we can't get through closed gates to patrol on people's driveways."