Wales

Ex-criminal backs North Wales Police anti-car theft drive

A former criminal is helping North Wales Police to promote a campaign to cut a 14% rise in thefts from cars.

Wyn Williams, 48, from Caernarfon, says motorists often leave rich pickings on show for opportunist thieves to steal.

Registration details of "soft target" vehicles will be noted and owners sent a letter to warn they are at risk of falling victim to criminals.

South Wales Police have seen a 11.9% rise, but Gwent Police report a 27% drop, with a 12% fall in Dyfed-Powys.

The figures were recorded between January and April 2012 compared with the same period last year.

"This is about educating vehicle owners," said Insp Julie Sheard, who is in charge of the North Wales Police Community Safety Team.

Jail term

"Opportunist thieves will target vehicles, especially when items are left on display, because they know they will get something out of it."

Examples of items on display in vehicles include satellite navigation systems, mobile phones and even wallets left on seats.

Mr Williams said it only took a few minutes to break into several cars on a single street by smashing windows and grabbing contents.

He said drug users, for example, broke into vehicles because they could sell items such as stolen laptops for up to £60.

He added that the temptation to steal from cars was because punishment for getting caught was considerably less than a jail term for crimes such as house burglary.

The police campaign slogan in north Wales is "Leave it on show, expect it to go".

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