Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are asking all motorists who park in public places to take their GPS navigation systems out of their vehicle to avoid them being stolen by thieves who have become skilled in removing the devices from vehicles. GMP revealed that in just three areas of their territory, Prestwich, Radcliffe and Whitefield, over 250 of the navigation aids have been stolen from vehicles in the last year, including many from motorhomes and campervans. The systems have become one of the “must have” motoring accessories and can cost up to £450.
A spokesman for GMP said: “Sat-navs are one of the top three items stolen from vehicles in our area. Only number plates and tools are higher. I would like to encourage all residents to lock up their cars, keep valuables hidden or, even better, and remove them altogether. We are dealing with determined characters here who will do anything to raise cash quickly, and really an unlocked car door or goods on display is an open invitation.”
The spokesman said most of the crimes are committed in roads and car parks close to Metro Link stations where vehicles are often parked up for many hours. The success rate for catching the criminals is very low with only a dozen offenders having been charged. Apparently almost 40% of the thefts came from vehicles that were not even locked and campervan drivers will know that any claim on their motorhome insurance could easily be invalidated if they have not taken adequate security precautions. The GMP say they are committed to stopping the crime wave and say the public can help by reporting anyone behaving suspiciously to their local police station.