POLICE have warned residents in the south of the town to be vigilant after a spate of break-ins and vehicle thefts.

Criminals have been targeting residents’ sheds and vehicles in the Stockton Heath, Grappenhall and Thelwall area this month.

Cheshire Police says there has been a ‘noticeable rise’ in the number of thefts reported in the past few weeks.

Investigations into these incidents are ongoing, but officers have urged members of the public to take action to ensure they do not fall victims to the thefts.

PC Wendy Whitehead – beat manager for Stockton Heath, Grappenhall and Thelwall – said: “There has been an increase in the number of thieves gaining access to sheds, vehicles and homes in the areas over the past few weeks.

“Bikes have been stolen from sheds and items have been stolen from vehicles.

“Vehicles themselves have also been stolen, including after the keys were taken from the owner’s home.

“The public can aid our fight against such crimes by contacting us if they have any information in relation to them, or if they see any thefts or burglaries being carried out or anyone acting suspiciously in their area.

“Information in relation to anyone carrying out, or suspected to be carrying out, such crimes will also be gratefully received.

“Residents can also help us and themselves by making it as difficult as possible for criminals to enter their outbuildings, vehicles and homes and steal their belongings.

“They can do this by following our crime avoidance advice.”

The force’s top tips to avoid being targeted included keeping valuables out of sight of thieves – including never leaving keys, purses or wallets near doors or windows.

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Outbuildings should be fitted with strong padlocks, while external security lighting can also deter criminals.