VISITORS to the many beauty spots and historic places around Marlborough fell victim to thieves over the Easter weekend, as police received a spate of reports of cars being broken into and items stolen.

Beauty spot thefts, as they are known, have been a feature of crime in the county for many years, but the force are concerned by the sharp peak in the number of incidents this weekend. They hope it does not herald a crime spree in the area, and are also worried because they have campaigned on the issue, warning locals and visitors of the danger though signs in car parks, lanes and popular laybys.

The crimewave began on Tuesday, April 14, when a car parked in Alton Barnes was searched, but nothing was stolen. On the same day in Clench Common, Marlborough, a handbag which contained credit cards was stolen from a car. Both cars has their rear windscreens smashed by the thieves.

On Thursday in Frog Lane, Great Bedwyn, £3,000 worth of tools in three chests were stolen from a parked vehicle and the rear nearside window of a car in Honey Street was smashed and two handbags taken. The black leather handbag containing a Santander debit card, AMEX credit card and Capitol One credit card plus £60 cash and grey small flat handbag containing a Santander credit card, driving licence, house and car keys, mobile phone and £50 cash are still missing.

An American visiting Avebury on the same day lost their passport when a thief smashed a back window to get into a car which had been left on Beckhampton Road.

On Saturday another car parked at Honey Street, was broken into and several items were stolen.

Easter Sunday outings were ruined for a driver who parked in a small gravel area by the National Trail at Woodcote Road, Buttermere, only to return and find the rear windscreen smashed and a navy blue Regatta Survivor 35 litre backpack containing drinks and sandwiches had been taken, and another who parked at Wilton Windmill, only to have the rear window smashed and a brown leather handbag containing debit cards and a Samsung S7 Edge phone taken.

In another incident thieves also tried to force open the side window of a car when it was parked in Dark Lane, East Grafton, causing damage, and smashed a window to steal a bag from a car parked at Westwoods, Clatford Bottom.

PC Beth Butwell, the Wiltshire East Community Co-ordinator, said: “ Wiltshire as a whole is a rural county with numerous beauty spot/sights for tourists and visitors to explore. The isolation of these areas make thefts from cars quite common, especially in the summer months.

"Our advice is:

Before you leave home, think about what you need and leave any unnecessary items of value at home

Make sure you do not leave documents which have your personal details on in your vehicle

Try to park in sign-posted parking areas

Be cautious about parking your car in isolation. Thieves can be put off when other people are around

Do not leave anything in your vehicle. A jacket or coat left behind may be of very little value to you, but a thief may think it has been used to hide a laptop or handbag and will break into your vehicle to find out

Take items with you rather than locking them in the boot, you can't be sure who has seen you

Do not leave your sat-nav in your vehicle and don't forget to remove the cradle and wipe the sucker marks from your windscreen

Remember to shut all windows and sunroofs and lock all doors. Activate the alarm and immobiliser

Make use of any security products you might have such as steering locks

Whilst enjoying the sights make sure you keep your bag and possessions with you

Register all your valuables on the Immobilise website

To report a theft to us call 101 our non-emergency number. If a crime is in progress call 999.

"When calling us, to help us help you please provide your location and exact time (or time frame) of when the vehicle was broken into, have to hand your vehicle registration, make and colour.

"To report a theft to us call 101 our non-emergency number. If a crime is in progress call 999.”