A prolific former car-thief has been enlisted by police in Leicester to help fight the traditional rise in vehicle crime during the festive season.
James Hazell, 25, broke into more than 100 cars during his 10-year criminal career but after two prison sentences is now set to offer advice to motorists about the type of things which attract thieves and the measures they can take to reduce the risk of becoming victims.
He said: “I’d go out at night and try car doors and boots. It’s hard to believe how many people leave their cars unlocked.
“It doesn’t matter what car it is, you can get into any car through the boot. I once stole a £700 camera that had been left in the boot of an unlocked car. I’d also peer in the windows to see if there was anything left in the car. If I thought something was there I wouldn’t think twice, I’d just pop the window.
“People sometimes leave things like sat-navs and the front of radios under seats, but that’s the first place I would look. Even if I thought I’d only get a fiver for something, I’d still break in.
“People really need to be careful, especially at this time of year. They are often an easy target because they’re rushing about getting ready for Christmas and they don’t think about their car.”
A video of the 25-year-old, who is nearing the end of his supervision period with the Probation Service, has also been posted on YouTube, giving security tips. As well as targeting criminals, police said officers will be patrolling local car parks in the run-up to Christmas and maintaining a “high visibility presence”.
Inspector Toby Day said: “Unfortunately at this time of year we do tend to see a rise in car crime, especially thefts from vehicles. We also find that, despite repeated warnings from the police, people still leave items on show in their vehicles which is often all the invitation a thief needs to break in.