POLICE in Ringwood have issued a warning to residents after seeing a spike in thefts from vehicles.

Officers say the overnight thefts have been specifically targeting vans in the area.

Thefts have happened on August 13 on Burley Street and Crow Arch Lane, and in Christchurch Road on August 15.

Further thefts were reported on Lyndhurst Road, Old Brickyard Road and Orchard Close on August 16, and Old Brickyard Road, Salisbury Road, and Bruyn Road on August 17.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson said: “Officers investigating the incidents are keeping an open mind, but it is believed the thefts could be linked. We have increased our patrols in the above areas to tackle offenders and reduce this crime.”

Residents are being reminded to ensure they do not leave personal belongings or valuables in vehicles overnight.

A statement from police, which was posted on the Ringwood Police Facebook page, said: “We have seen a recent spike in thefts overnight, specifically targeting vans, in the Ringwood area.

“If your vehicle is parked on a driveway or in front of a garage, you may want to consider installing a CCTV camera covering the area which your vehicle is parked or installing a motion-detector dash-cam. This way, it may serve as a deterrent to potential thieves as they know that they will be caught on camera.”

The statement added: “Most burglaries are committed by opportunists. These are often spur-of-the-moment decisions, made when they see valuables left on view or lapses in security.

“Personal items such as mobile phones and tablets, handbags and work tools left somewhere obvious can be an attractive target, so please do take them indoors with you every night,” the statement, posted by police on the Ringwood Police Facebook page said.

“Our officers in the community are continuing to follow-up on all reports of thefts from motor vehicles, so please be reassured that we are doing all we can to protect the community and bring these offenders to justice.

“We would urge you to remove all personal belongings from your vehicle each night. While this might seem laborious at the time, it might just save you from becoming a victim of crime.”

Police also issued a statement to reassure residents that the safety and welfare of the local community “remains a top priority” after reports of antisocial behaviour, thefts from vehicles and a public disorder.

The statement, which was posted on the Ringwood Police Facebook page, said: “We have received reports of anti-social behaviour, general crime (including thefts from motor vehicles) as well as public disorder in the Ringwood area in recent days and weeks.

“We want to reassure you that we are reviewing all of these incidents and you will continue to see our officers in and around the local community – especially in key areas - as part of their routine patrols.

“The safety and welfare of the local community remains our top priority.”

It added: “As always, we would urge residents to continue to call 999 in an emergency where a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life.

“Alternatively, residents can report any incidents of concern to us via our quick and easy-to-use online reporting portal via the Hampshire Constabulary website or you can call 101.”