THEFTS from cars is increasing in Winchester, a meeting heard last night.

PC Nick Whitehouse told residents at the Partnership and Community Together (PACT) meeting how he had received more calls than usual recently relating to thefts from vehicles.

He said that criminals are targeting car parks near beauty spots, and with the weather improving, the crime is on the rise.

“I have had more calls, even this week. It’s on the increase,” he said at the meeting held on Tuesday at All Saints Primary School in Highcliffe.

“These people that target car parks start to go there more this time of year, when the beauty spots start to come alive.”

He told residents about a theft from a vehicle at Hyde Gate, where a sat nav and visitors badge was stolen.

PC Whitehouse also explained how certain criminal groups use ‘blockers’ - devices that stop the signal from keys, leaving cars unlocked and easier to target.

He urged residents to check their cars are locked, and remove any valuable items when leaving them.