Theft from vehicles is on the rise in Barking and Dagenham, new figures show.

Theft from vehicles is on the rise, new figures show.

Over six months from April to September this year there were 884 reported incidents of theft from vehicles in Barking and Dagenham compared with 670 over the same period last year — a rise of almost a third.

Police are urging motorists not to leave personal items in sight when leaving their vehicles unattended in a bid to help tackle the problem.

“We are working hard to protect local people and their property, but while personal items continue to be left in plain sight these vehicle break-ins will continue,” said Ch Insp Richard Goodwin.

“Opportunist crimes such as this are preventable. A vehicle that is empty of personal items is unlikely to be targeted by thieves.

“Simply keeping personal items out of sight would drastically reduce your chances of having to endure the inconvenience and frustration of falling victim to vehicle related theft.”

Commercial drivers are often the worst affected with vital work tools being stolen.

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Police said in some cases vehicles are being left unlocked, but that they were also getting reports where thieves smash car windows to steal low value items or even a handful of change from the dash board.

They advised transporting valuable in the boot where they are out of sight to avoid becoming a victim of opportunist crime.

Also prevalent in the borough is the theft of number plates, which are usually stolen to be used in petrol station drive outs or to avoid the CCTV based enforcement charges.

Free number plate security screws and advice can be obtained from your Safer Neighbourhoods Team to help protect your vehicle against number plate theft,

• If you have information about vehicle crime or the handling of stolen goods contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.