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18 October 2007

Autoglass warns of half term horror at UK beauty spots

Motorists lulled into a false sense of security by chocolate box locations and picturesque views at some of the UK’s best loved tourism spots should be on their guard against opportunistic thieves this half term, warns Autoglass. The leading windscreen repair and replacement company saw side glass replacements rise by 15 per cent in the same week in 2006 and is urging motorists to be more vigilant when parking at visitor attractions this year by removing everything of value from their vehicle.

According to Autoglass, October half term is a prime time for vehicle break-ins, with thieves being tempted by a combination of busy car parks, complacent drivers and duller days and targeting well known tourist destinations where they know a car will be left empty for long periods of time.

Nigel Doggett, managing director at Autoglass, said: “There’s nothing worse than having a great day out with the family spoilt by an act of theft. Unfortunately, this could be the case for many people this half term, as thieves seize upon an opportunity to smash and grab. And while most attractions will have a security system in place, there are some locations, such as the Peak District, the New Forest or Dartmoor, for example, where it is simply not possible to install any form of robust security measures.

“In most cases, the only way to avoid a break-in is by removing everything from your vehicle. For those with Sat Nav devices, that includes the cradle and also the sucker marks on the windscreen as a savvy thief will see this as evidence that there could be a Sat Nav up for grabs in the glove box.”

Recent research conducted by Autoglass suggests that there is a growing epidemic of gadget theft from vehicles. One in seven of those questioned in the national poll had recently been a victim of car crime. Some 41% of those said that gadgets including SatNavs, portable DVD players, laptops, stereos, mp3 players and mobile phones had been taken.

And while thieves prosper, it’s the motorist that pays the price. The research shows that a typical break-in is costing UK drivers an average of £646. Only 37% of those questioned said that they claimed on their insurance, which means that motorists are picking up a personal crime bill of £215 million. For those who do claim, many find that their insurance company will only cover the theft of removable goods and gadgets if they have been safely secured in a locked glove box or boot.

Nigel Doggett continues: “It seems that people don’t take as many precautions when parking in tourists spots as they would in an urban area, providing thieves with a rich picking of valuables left on display. It takes just seconds for a thief to break into a car and clear it of valuables; hiding things away just isn’t good enough as thieves will often look in the glove box, boot or under the seat. Our advice to everyone travelling to tourist spots this half term is to park in public view, be on your guard and report any suspicious characters and most importantly take everything with you when you park.”

Autoglass is committed to keeping motorists, their cars and belongings safe. If you are a victim of car crime over the half term period, Autoglass can safely repair or replace every kind of vehicle glass 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The company provides a national windscreens and other body glass service, phone free on 0800 36 36 36 to arrange an appointment.

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