Wiltshire Police are urging drivers to pay special attention to locking their vehicles and use steering locks following a spate of recent thefts which may be part of an organised crime racket in the county.

The police say that over the past few weeks they have seen an increase in the number of reports of thefts of cars, vans and motorbikes.

"This believed to be linked to the rise in demand on the second-hand motor trade, as well as delays in getting motor parts," said a spokesman.

"Therefore, we are urging vehicle owners to take simple steps to help prevent them falling victim to this type of crime."

Detective Constable Jo Chesshire, from Wiltshire Police’s Operation Fortitude, added: “Our team’s job is to identify and track the most serious or prolific crime types across Wiltshire and ensure we are doing everything we can to stop offenders and ensure they face justice.

“These sorts of vehicle thefts can often be part of wider, organised crime, and we will be carrying out enquiries to investigate this.

“However, in the meantime, there are some simple steps everyone can take to try to keep their property safe.”

The police have asked drivers to take note of their following advice:

- Thieves are stealing vehicles in a number of ways including stealing the car keys or using keyless technology. Our advice is to secure your vehicles with the old fashion steering wheel locks. This way even if they get into your car it makes it much more difficult for them to drive away in it.

- Motorbikes should be anchored to the ground using wheel locks or bolt anchors, there are a number of difference security options on the market.

- Register your vehicle tracker and enable your onboard computer. If your vehicle doesn’t have a tracker option built in then there are a number of trackers on the market at affordable prices.

-You can also find further information about vehicle crime on our website here: https://www.wiltshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/keeping-vehicles-safe/preventing-car-vehicle-theft/