THIEVES have been targeting vehicles left unlocked by delivery drivers.
On Monday, a delivery driver’s car was stolen after he left it with the engine running while he delivered a parcel in Grindon Lane.
Police found the stolen car the next day in Gravesend Road and inquiries are under way to trace the thieves.
Officers today said the theft was the latest in a spate of incidents across the city where thieves have snatched items including satnav systems, mobile phones, parcels and the vehicles themselves.
Police are now warning delivery drivers not to leave their cars and vans unlocked.
Chief Inspector Alison Best said: “We’ve had a number of reports of thefts from delivery vehicles that have been left unattended and unlocked by the drivers.
“The circumstances usually are that the driver has left their vehicle unlocked, sometimes with the keys still in the ignition, to drop something off, expecting to only be away from the vehicle for a minute or so.
“When they return they find that the items have been stolen and in some cases the vehicle itself has gone.
“An unlocked vehicle is the perfect chance for opportunistic thieves to strike.
“They can be in and out of an insecure car or van in seconds, and if things like satnavs, cash or mobile phones have been left inside then they can be grabbed fairly easily.”
Detectives believe thieves are targeting delivery vehicles as they expect them to be left unlocked.
Chief Insp Best added: “Postmen, supermarket delivery drivers and parcel delivery drivers all need to be aware that opportunist thieves are looking for unlocked vehicles.
“Drivers can help us combat this type of crime by locking their vehicles every time they leave them unattended, even if only for a minute, and by removing anything of value from view.
“If anyone sees people acting suspiciously around parked cars, trying car doors or thinks a crime is being committed then I’d ask they ring the police.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.