Dorset Police have offered advice on preventing vehicle thefts this Christmas.

Firstly, although it may seem obvious, they recommend locking your car, however ‘fuelling up or popping back into your house to get something are perfect examples of how easy it is to turn your back for a moment and forget your vehicle is unsecured.’

They also suggest closing the sunroof and windows on vehicles as it invites thieves to ‘fish’ for items through the gap by hand or with, say, a bent coat hanger, which could also be used to unlock a door for them to get in.

The ‘easiest way to change the identity of a stolen vehicle or avoid speeding tickets and parking tickets is to fit stolen number plates,’ therefore police recommend securing plates with tamper-resistant screws.

Furthermore, mobile phone, coins for the car park, sunglasses, packs of medication or other items that can earn quick cash are irresistible to the opportunist thief and should ideally be removed from the vehicle or if it is stored in the car then it should remain out of sight.

Vans are often targeted by thieves for the tools stored inside. If you have to leave tools in a van overnight, it's a good idea to mark them clearly with your name, company name and address using paint pens and seal with a clear lacquer spray.

It is also highly advisable to choose where you park wisely and if possible, always try to park in well-lit and staffed car parks or those with a Park Mark safer parking award.

More safety advice can be found here: