NEW police figures have revealed car thefts in Lancashire are on the rise again after dropping during the first 12 months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Data shows in the 12 months to March 2022, 1,951 vehicles thefts were recorded by the police in Lancashire.

This was a rise compared to 1,691 in the year to March 2021 - during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, but down on the March 2020 figure of 2,466, showing the after-effects of the pandemic.

In Merseyside and Greater Manchester it was the same story with a Covid lockdown lull in thefts - with potential thieves forced to stay at home - but in the past 12 months thefts have rocketed to pre-pandemic levels.

In the 12 months to March 2020 there were 2,366 recorded vehicle thefts made by Merseyside police. This dropped to 1,738 in the year to March 2021 but shot up to 2,471 in the 12 months to 2022.

It was similar in Greater Manchester too where in the year to March 2020, 7,661 vehicle thefts were recorded. This dropped to 6,220 in the 12 months to March 2021 but then rose again to 7,737 in the year to March 2022.

Advice on the Lancashire Police website in relation to car safety states: "Never leave items on display, such as shopping bags, handbags, or coats.

"Don’t leave spare keys or sat navs in your vehicle, even in the glove box.

"At home, don’t leave car keys in clear view from windows or in reach from the letter box.

"Hook and canes can be used to steal keys through letter boxes. High value and performance cars can be specifically targeted for this type of crime.

"Never leave the engine running, especially in frosty weather, car thieves know that people do this.

"If you use your vehicle for work, remove your tools or other valuables if possible.

"Simple things like reversing onto the drive so that the rear doors on a van can’t be opened easily will help to put thieves off.

"Park where the vehicle can be well seen, even if it means walking a bit further.

"Don’t park behind bushes, walls or large vehicles because this gives criminals somewhere to hide.

"At night try to park in residential areas because people are more likely to be at home not at work.

"When using a car park, remove all items on display and think about when you will be returning to the car – will it be dark, if so is there a safer area to park nearer to a street light.

"Consider steering locks, alarms, tracking devices and immobilisers and if you have them, use them.

"Use anti-tamper or security screws on your registration plate – they can be easily fitted but can’t be removed using standard tools. These area available from various online retailers, DIY and vehicle maintenance stores.

"HGV’s and plant are often targeted for diesel theft. Devices are available to buy to help combat this however good security of compounds, lighting, good quality CCTV and natural surveillance will all help to deter this type of crime.

"Remember, vehicle crime is an occupation for some people, don’t make your vehicle an easy target for them."