A MARKED INCREASE in the number of break-ins to outbuildings throughout the north east has prompted a further reminder and warning from local police.
Police Scotland say that several ‘acquisitive’ crimes have been reported in Moray and throughout the north east in recent weeks, with three incidents alone reported overnight on Thursday of this week.
Officers warn that the longer nights and the approaching Christmas holidays traditionally make communities more vulnerable to such crimes, warning members of the public to be cautious.
Police are also asking motorists who work shifts, such as delivery or taxi drivers, to be alert for suspicious vehicles or activity while they are out and about in particular overnight, and to report any such activity as soon as possible on the 101 number.
Detective Inspector Stuart McAdam said: “Christmas is a busy time of year and it may be that you’re away for the weekend or on a night out. I would urge you to take a couple of extra minutes before you leave your house to make sure all your doors and windows are locked, including any vehicles, and to put any additional security measures in place whether it be timed lights or setting alarms.
“My advice stands even if you are at home. In some cases the perpetrators are simply trying front and back doors in the hope they are open, and grabbing any keys left nearby. They can gain entry without you even noticing and flee the area quickly and easily, in some cases with your stolen vehicle.
“In the wrong hands your vehicle is a lethal weapon, and the criminal behaviour that comes with such crimes will continue to escalate if they are able to gain easy access to your property.”
The Inspector added that the North East Division remains firmly committed to tackling crime as a priority under Operation Magpie, for which a huge amount of preventative and proactive work is being carried out.
He added: “Extra patrols are being carried out however if drivers who are working through the night can be another set of eyes and ears for us, that information could be extremely valuable to our enquiries.
“If you have noticed or notice any suspicious activity – day or night – please let us know as soon as possible. Look out for unfamiliar vehicles or people and most importantly, tell us. There won’t be any issue with officers attending a false call made in good faith.
“Anyone with information should contact Police on 999 if it is an emergency, on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if you would prefer to remain anonymous.”