How you can protect yourself from ‘lazy heroin addicts’ stealing from vehicles in Hartlepool

Police have urged residents to ensure they lock their cars and remove valuable items to protect from ‘lazy heroin addicts’ stealing items from vehicles.

Saturday, 7th September 2019, 8:00 am
Hartlepool Police Station in Avenue Road.

It came as an officer told a meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee he recognised there had been problems in the town with thefts from cars.

Matt Reeves, local neighbourhood inspector at Cleveland Police, told councillors the majority of incidents were due to vehicles being insecure.

He said: “Almost 8 or 9 out of 10 cars that things are being taken out of are insecure, they’re not breaking windows.

“They’re essentially lazy heroin addicts.

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“If they can get three of four pounds of change out of the drinks container you’ve left in your car for parking the next day, they’re walking along trying door handles, they’ll get what they can so they can buy a bag of heroin so they can get their fix for the evening.

“We can reduce that by people removing their personal belongings from the cars at night and locking the cars.

“That could massively reduce the levels of crime, they’re not hard criminals in the sense of being aggressive and violent, they go for the easiest option and least line of resistance.”

The latest figures from the Safer Hartlepool Partnership showed between January and March this year there was 133 incidents of acquisitive crime from cars, which had reduced almost 61% from the same period last year, when there was 339 incidents.

Thefts from cars had been an area which had been targeted for a crackdown by the Hartlepool Community Safety Team, with various schemes put in place such as social media campaigns.

Inspector Reeves said there had been success recently in catching some of the culprits, but urged residents to continue to be wary and take action.

He said: “Headland and Harbour we have had some success recently, there’s been a number of key people arrested for that.

“They get arrested because they are lazy.”

Coun Brenda Loynes said while it is ‘sad’ to see people attempting thefts from cars, residents need to take more care and act responsibly.

She said: “I can’t believe people do that and leave their wallets and handbags in the car.

“We should be able to do that, but we live in the world we live in and it’s sad, people should be taking more responsibility for their own property.”