REVEALED: These are Lancashire's top 10 vehicle crime hotspots
Figures from the UK’s police hub show that some 450 vehicle crimes took place in four Preston suburbs in the last year.
Second highest on the list was Bamber Bridge and Walton-le-Dale, where 126 crimes were recorded between September 2017 to August 2018.
A further 324 crimes took place in St Matthews (119), Ashton and Docks (104), and Plungington (101), which ranked fourth, eighth and tenth respectively.
Preston Bus employee Jason Fitzer’s Vauxhall Astra was the target of £800 of criminal damage over the summer, with the words “don’t park” scratched across the bonnet when it was parked in Suffolk Road, Deepdale.
Many residents of the road also spoke to the Post anonymously about damage to their cars while parked on the road.
Imtiaz Merchant, has had his car scratched all the way round and was told the bill for having it repainted was likely to reach between £400 and £500.
“There was £800 of damage which I can’t afford to go out repair just like that,” Jason explained.
For Jason, the incident followed on from a similar one in adjoining Argyll Road some six months earlier.
Jason said: “Six months prior I was parked up in the car around the corner from Suffolk Road. I’d just finished work and I was on the phone to my wife when a man came up to the window and said ‘move your car before I move it for you’.
“He said he parked where I was so it was ‘his’ spot.
“These people are completely comfortable [doing this] around that area.”
Ranjen Gohri, director of Lancashire car breakdown recovery company 24|7 Vehicle Rescue, said: “These figures show that car crime continues to be a blight on society.
“It is to be expected that areas close to town centres would have high vehicle-related crime rates, but these figures show incidents are in almost all areas.”
The Clayton-le-Moors business has recently brought out smartphone app MYCARLO, a car tracking system to help owners locate their vehicles if they are stolen.
Mr Gohri added: “Owners should be able to leave their vehicles at home, car parks or in streets without risk of being broken into, damaged or stolen, but that is not always the case.”
Overall in Lancashire, Squiresgate, Highfield and Stanley – neighbouring Blackpool Pleasure Beach – was the worst suburb in the county, with some 140 recorded crimes since September last year. In contrast, the Chorley village of Mawdesley, Cabus, and Catterall and Churchtown have been named as three of the top 10 Lancashire suburbs with the lowest vehicle crime rates, with a total of eight crimes in the last year.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “It takes a few seconds to steal from a vehicle and many of these crimes are from unlocked vehicles so we would urge people to make sure their vehicle is locked at all times.
“We would also urge people to make sure items are not left on display and do not leave spare keys or sat navs in your vehicle, even in the glove box.
“Wherever possible it is also a good idea to park in will lit areas where vehicles can be well seen.
“Vehicle crime is an occupation for some people and we’d urge motorists to follow the crime prevention advice to make sure their vehicle is not an easy target.”
Top Ten vehicle crime hotspots in Lancashire*
1 - Squiresgate, Highfield and Stanley, Blackpool: 140 recorded crimes
2 - Bamber Bridge North/East/West and Walton le Dale: 126
3 - Poulton le Fylde: 121
4 - St Matthews, Preston: 119
5 - Oswaldtwistle and Knuzden, Accrington: 112
6 - Leyton with Park, near Poulton le Fylde: 109
7 - Rosegrove with Lowerhouse, Burnley: 108
8 - Ashton and Docks, Preston: 104
8 - Peel, Barnfield and Woodnook, Accrington: 104
10 - Plungington, Preston: 101
*Top Ten vehicle crime hotspots in Lancashire, according to official figures on www.police.uk between September 2017 and August 2018