CASH, jewellery and Christmas presents were all left on show – ripe for the taking – in cars last week.
Almost 100 cars were found vulnerable to criminals by a police officer posing as a car thief as part of a campaign to clampdown on vehicle crime.
“Smash n Carry Harry” – actually a local PCSO – took to the streets of Clay Cross and Shirebrook to look for vehicles left insecure or with items on display.
He visited car parks and busy shopping areas with uniformed officers, leaving a card saying ‘Smash and Grab Harry was here’ on cars vulnerable to thieves as well as a leaflet with crime prevention advice.
The exercise was part of Operation Rocky, a month-long campaign targeting serious acquisitive crime like burglaries and car offences.
Chf Insp Graham McLaughlin, who is leading the operation across north Derbyshire, said: “As well as targeting offenders this operation is also about increasing awareness and responsibility.
“We will do our bit in taking criminals off the street but we need the public to do their bit and make their property as secure and unappealing to a thief as possible.”
When police visited Sharley Park Leisure Centre, Clay Cross, they found 14 cars with items left on display.
At a nearby supermarket car park 49 cars had been left vulnerable and at the bus station, another seven, with items such as sat navs, cash and handbags on display.
The Shirebrook Safer Neighbourhood Team visited Patchwork Row, Ashbourne Street Car Park, Church Drive and a local supermarket car park where 21 vehicles were seen with items in full view for a potential thief.
Smash and Carry Harry was due to visit Dronfield yesterday and will be in Bolsover on Monday November 21 then North Wingfield on Wednesday November 23.
By Ellen Beardmore