Motorists have been warned of opportunistic thieves who could steal their vehicles left running to defrost.
With the winter months in full swing, motoring experts and police across the country have highlighted the increased risk of theft while vehicles are defrosting.
Edmund King, president of vehicle services company the AA, said: “Keys really are the weakest link in the car security chain, and you should treat them like cash. Leaving your car unattended with the engine running is just offering thieves an early Christmas present.
“The current extreme low temperatures may tempt more drivers to leave the car running. It really can be a case of ‘gone in 60 seconds’ if the car is left running.”
As temperatures in the UK drop to as low as -13 degrees in some parts and thick snow frozen to the windscreen, it is taking drivers longer to thaw out their car.
The AA warns that leaving the car running unattended could not only result in the car being stolen but the insurance is likely to be invalidated and it could be against the law.
The police have already warned of the dangers.
A number of police forces have used social media to spread the message too. A tweet by Merseyside Police’s road policing team said: “There’s already been one car stolen this morning after being left unattended with the engine on to defrost the windows. Don’t give thieves the opportunity! Never leave your car unattended with the engine on, not even for a couple of seconds.”
Another post, this time by Police Scotland’s road policing unit, said: “Don’t defrost your car and leave it unattended……van stolen this morning…..several other vehicles damaged….the person responsible is in custody…..fortunately, no one was injured [sic] #WinterSafety #TRPGMotherwell”.