Residents warned after thieves steal cars in break-ins

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Residents are being warned to be extra vigilant after a spree of break-ins in Linlithgow.

Opportunist thieves stole two high-value cars after breaking into houses in Bells Burn Avenue and Springfield Road overnight on Monday.

It is reported they jumped the garden gate and entered the back door of the house on Springfield Road before stealing the owner’s Nissan Navara, registration LY16 VTJ.

In the other break-in in Bells Burn Avenue, the thieves used a fishing rod to get the keys through the letter box from the front porch before driving off in the owner’s Mercedes-Benz A-Class, registration SL14 UYR.

The suspects are believed to have headed west on the M8 towards Glasgow with both vehicles. Police are advising people to make sure their home is secure at all times and not to leave keys on the inside of doors, under mats or anywhere else intruders may find them.

Last year, addresses in Sheriffs Park, Bailielands and Barons Hill were targeted and in March a Porsche and two Audis were stolen in Grange Knowe.

Figures from the latest police scrutiny report show that there has been an increase in housebreaking with 21 incidents from April 1 to December 31, 2016, compared to 15 the previous year.

In May chief inspector Barry Blair said: “People are targeting high-value cars, breaking into houses solely to steal car keys. We are finding that it is organised criminals who frequently come from outside West Lothian.”

On the recent break-ins, PC Julias Nyamakanga said: “I’m eager to hear from anyone who may have seen any suspicious persons in the area of Bells Burn Avenue and Springfield Road in the early hours.

“Similarly, anyone who has seen the stolen Mercedes-Benz or Nissan Navara or has information on their whereabouts is asked to come forward.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting incident no. 0450 of July 11, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.