Car Crime Alert

Sergeant Sam Dobbs, who has responsibility for Daventry Rural policing has passed on the following warning about vehicle crime in the Daventry area.


I am sending this message because of incidents in the past week and the usual (mostly, but not always, helpful) comments on the town’s social media sites. They say every picture tells a tale, as does the one below and the backdrop to it is as follows.

Earlier in the month, we had a spate of thefts from vehicles on a housing estate in the rural part of the patch. Not necessarily linked to this week’s town incidents, the common feature is that the cars targeted by thieves have either been left insecure or with items on display and visible to thieves. We know that this is a more widespread issue in our town because in 24 hours in December, Emergency Service Cadets spent 24 hours on local estates to identify insecure cars, or cars with valuables on display. They checked 2,626 vehicles, and 104 of these checks required contact with the owners to prevent an easy crime. This tells me that we have work to do so that Daventry people can help us to help them.

I’ll now turn to what has happened in Daventry in the past week before seeking the help of the public in a number of key ways so that we can prevent further crime or accelerate our chances of catching the offenders, who are relatively brazen.

Last Saturday into Sunday evening (13th/14th January), four taxis were broken into on The Grange Estate and substantial amounts of cash were stolen. It is from this series that this photograph was circulated on social media.

Overnight Monday into Tuesday (14th/15th) during the early evening, two number plates were stolen from vehicles parked at a local hotel at around 7pm and attached to a car which traveled around the area, changing its number plates during the evening. With members of the public in the vicinity, entry was then forced to three parked commercial vans using an angle grinder. The noise and sparks were not noticed or reported by anyone despite it only being 8.30pm. Power tools were stolen. Later the same night, another local hotel was targeted and two further commercial vans were broken into and more power tools stolen. Then overnight Wednesday into Thursday (16th/17th) two commercial vans were targeted on the Southbrook Estate and power tools were stolen except that in one of these crimes, the owner had chained and padlocked his tools together which thwarted the theft.

Whilst in larger busier police districts, this may be a drop in the ocean of crime, this is a significant spike for Daventry and I have concerns that this last week may be the resurgence of a crime series from previous years which we tackled under the name of “Operation Ilford” which I have asked to have reopened. (the crime reference is 16000320622). Whilst we investigate the crimes, I ask for the public’s help as follows,
because I know how good Daventry is in responding to such requests.

  • Theft of number plates I am told that some number plate crimes are not being reported. Because this can often be an early indicator of crimes about to happen, it’s crucial that you report such crimes. Please ensure that you report on 101 or online and quote Op Ilford or the crime reference above so that it prompts and alerts those who receive the crime and information reports that early intervention at our end is required. Number plate retailers are asked to reinforce this message. Products are available so that a number plate is destroyed if unscrewed.
  • Vigilance and prevention  The evidence is that cars are left insecure or with property on display. An innocuous shopping bag, or a sports bag left on display could still lead to a window being smashed. You may know that the sports bag on the back seat only contains sweaty sports kit, but it will still be worth the thief smashing thewindow – and it won’t be to launder your clothes! And please remember that some insurers limit claims if there was no forced entry. Cash should never be left in cars.And remember, some thieves would smash your window to steal the £5 parking change often left in the centre console. So please leave nothing on display.
  • Power tools and commercial vans This a concern to me, as these are being targeted, especially as the District is a great central place for contractors and engineers to stop over when doing construction works around the region. We will visit the hotels, but the crimes have been on the estates in Daventry too. Consider chaining your tools together, consider an internal £80 battery powered GSM shed alarm which you can set so it texts you if your van is entered. Leave your van in lit places with a notice to make your van less attractive to thieves, who are brazen enough to angle grind a side door lock, sparks and all. Please identify power tools with the various products on the market, preferably with a surname or readily identifiable reference, should the property be found and ownership disputed. (We do recover power tools and our Twitter accounts will show the successes we’ve had).
  • Stolen items If people didn’t handle or sell stolen goods, there would be less theft. We are following up items quite openly displayed for sale on Daventry local social media sites, and I need local people to be far more intrusive, less trusting and more unforgiving about power tools being offered for sale by individuals who many know to be… well.. simply… ‘dodgy’ people. The irony is that in some cases, £700 worth of damage is caused to steal tools which yield less than £100 on the sites I refer to.
  • And finally, if you have any information about these or any other crimes, or suspect someone of selling or receiving stolen tools, please contact us quoting “Operation Ilford” or call Crimestoppers – the charity which welcomes anonymous information either by calling on 0800 555111 or sending a message online at If you wish to discuss any part of this briefing with the local neighbourhood team, you canvisit or call the station front desk (open Mon thru Sat 10am to 4pm, extension 341010) or email


District Sergeant

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