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'They're a prime target' - Warning after spate of keyless van thefts

PUBLISHED: 17:05 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:12 22 May 2019

Police are appealing for witnesses after a blind woman was abused on an Ipswich bus. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police are appealing for witnesses after a blind woman was abused on an Ipswich bus. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Motorists are being urged to keep their vehicles secure after thieves snatched 28 Mercedes Sprinter vans in just seven months.

The vans, which are known for their keyless entry, were generally stolen overnight from residential areas and car parks between October 2018 and April 2019.

The majority of vehicles were taken from Ipswich, with 23 of the 28 vans snatched from the county town.

Criminals steal keyless vehicles by using a transmitter to amplify the signal being emitted from the genuine key inside the owner's house. This unlocks the vehicle parked outside, which can then be driven away in seconds.

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Supt Kerry Cutler, commander for southern area, said: "We've seen a rise in the theft of vans in the Ipswich area in recent months, with Mercedes Sprinter vans being the primary target.

"I would urge anyone who owns a Sprinter van to be vigilant and take sensible measures to protect your vehicle.

"As a consequence of these thefts we are conducting a letter drop to all registered keepers of such Sprinter vans in Ipswich in the coming weeks to raise awareness of the issue amongst owners.

"Of course, the message is relevant to all vehicle owners - make sure you use as many preventative measures as possible to keep your vehicle secure."

Motorists can find details guidance on how to secure their vehicles by visiting the force's A-Z of crime prevention - First Principle site, and following the links to keyless car and van theft.

Anyone with information about vehicle thefts should contact Suffolk Constabulary on 101.

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