POLICE are warning car dealers in Blackburn and Accrington to be vigilant after a spate of car thefts.

Five vehicles have been stolen in the past five weeks after people have posed as prospective customers and driven off in the cars during a ‘test drive’.

This has happened in Blackburn and Accrington, with people targeting both main dealers and smaller car sales outlets.

Sgt Tim McDermott said: “I would urge businesses to be vigilant and not leave prospective customers unaccompanied with the keys to cars either on the forecourt or on test drives.

“If any businesses have people approach them that they are suspicious of in this way, please call police while they are still present.

“The cars targeted are not only high value cars but also older vehicles, which we believe could be used in future criminal acts.”

On November 7, a silver VW Golf was stolen by a man from Witton Car Sales on Wensley Road in Blackburn during a test drive. Two days later a Grey Audi A3 was stolen in the same way from Daisyfield Cars on Fort Street in Blackburn.

On November 23, a black BMW X5 was stolen from SL Motor Cars on Cicely Lane in Blackburn. On December 5 a blue BMW 318i was stolen from North Motors on Whalley New Road, Blackburn.

And on December 9 a man stole a silver VW Passat estate from Britannia Car Sales on Blackburn Road in Oswaldtwistle, Accrington.