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More than 4,000 vehicles stolen in past two years

More than 4,000 vehicles have been stolen across Bradford in the past two years – an average of 5.6 thefts every day.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Telegraph & Argus show that a total of 4,142 vehicles were reported stolen to West Yorkshire Police between January 2016 and December 2017.

The numbers, comprising 2,103 car thefts in 2016 and 2,039 in 2017, include construction equipment, mobility scooters, tractors, caravans and even an armoured vehicle as well as cars and vans.

Rafiq Sehgal, chairman of the police Independent Advisory Group (IAG) for Bradford, said he was worried by the figures.

He said: “This is a high number of thefts. It’s concerning for the community and for everybody in Bradford.

“We need to put more deterrents in place, such as locks and tracking devices.

“Something needs to be done about this. I know the police are working hard and we all need to play a part in the community to keep each other safe.”

He urged people to be vigilant and said Neighbourhood Watch schemes can also help keep communities safe from car crime and burglaries.

Mr Sehgal added: “It’s unfair, people in Bradford pay more for insurance because of thefts. I really sympathise with people, there’s such a high premium for insurance. It’s really worrying that through no fault of their own people can lose their car and it can end up costing them a lot more in the long run in charges and premiums, up to thousands of pounds.”

Motorsport enthusiast David Hobson from Queensbury was a victim of car burglary when his Subaru Impreza was stolen.

The 29-year-old had lovingly built his car from the ground up.

Police managed to recover his car from a housing estate in Pudsey but Mr Hobson shared the impact the incident has had on him.

He said: “It was depressing. It has got me down quite a bit. It’s come back in a right state.

“I was delighted when I heard it had been found.

“I had not got any sleep, when I thought how much blood, sweat and tears had gone into that car. I would have had to start all over again.

“The night it disappeared I was driving around looking for it.

“I thought it was going to get stripped for parts straightaway, but then we got some sightings of it.”

Mr Hobson appealed on social media for help to find the distinctive car. But when it was recovered, he found that his new motorsport wheels and specialist safety equipment had been taken and the back of the car had been damaged.

He said it cost him £260 to get the car back from where it was stored by police and he expected to pay £400 just to fix the tailgate.

He added: “It’s not much damage compared to what they could have done.

“But it could cost you a lot of money to get your car back, even if it is found. And people will only want to claim on insurance if they really can’t afford it.”

Chief inspector Marc Adams of Bradford District Police said vehicle thefts can often be linked to other criminal offences.

He said: “Officers in Bradford District work with policing colleagues across the West Yorkshire area and beyond to tackle crime involving the theft of vehicles.

“Individuals involved in vehicle crime sometimes have links to organised crime groups who operate across more than one force area and officers in Bradford work with other forces to target those groups and cause significant disruption to their operations.”

He also encouraged motorists to take steps to secure their cars: “To assist with reducing vehicle crime it is important to note that some vehicles will have been taken because they were left insecure.

“We urge motorists who use remote locking to check door handles before leaving their vehicles unattended.

“Some will have also been taken in ‘Hanoi’ burglaries, which is when thieves enter a property with the intention of taking your vehicle, so we would advise people to make sure your doors and windows are locked – even when you are inside – and that the keys cannot be seen from outside.

“If your vehicle does not have an immobiliser or alarm then consider having one professionally fitted to the Thatcham quality assured standard.

“You may also want to consider a tracking device if you have an expensive or high performance vehicle, as this can make it easier for police to recover it should it be stolen.”

Research by Confused.com revealed that Bradford is now the most expensive place to insure a car outside of London, with the average premium price climbing by 110 per cent in the past 10 years.

Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, said he was shocked by the number of stolen vehicles reported in the past two years.

He said: “Car thefts create misery for the victims, damage the local economy, and he make insurance premiums sky high.

“That is why I always argue for more resources for the police and tougher prison sentences.”

John Grogan, Labour MP for Keighley, said the numbers reflect a national increase in vehicles being stolen.

He said: “These figures are worrying but reflect the fact that after years of decline over the last three years car thefts have risen nationally by 30 per cent. Local police have advised me that they take this rise seriously but that also drivers themselves should take simple measures to reduce the risk to their vehicles including parking facing the wall at home or in public, turning the car wheels into the kerb and keeping keys and valuables out of sight.

“Professional car thieves are constantly on the look out for the easy target or weak link.”

For more information visit westyorkshire.police.uk.

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