SNEAKY thieves taking advantage of the cold snap are on the lookout for unattended vehicles left defrosting with their engines running – with six stolen on one day alone.
All six were stolen yesterday morning when motorists left their vehicles running outside their homes to warm them up and defrost the windscreens before getting in.
But while the vehicles were unattended thieves jumped in and drove off – leaving motorists to face a grilling from their insurance companies.
The thefts were all reported to South Yorkshire Police between 8.10am and 9.05am.
South Yorkshire Police said sub-zero temperatures frosting up vehicles overnight were ‘enticing opportunistic thieves’.
Inspector Craig Clifton from South Yorkshire Police, said: “It may be tempting to leave your vehicle unattended allowing it to defrost before starting your journey but this makes the car vulnerable to being stolen, particularly with exhaust fumes coming from standing vehicles in the cold weather making these vehicles more identifiable.
“You don’t only run the risk of your vehicle being stolen but you may also lose the right to make an insurance claim because leaving the keys in the ignition could invalidate your insurance.
“Plan your journey with extra time to defrost your vehicle without leaving it unattended.”
Temperatures plummeted to -2C degrees in Sheffield, and minus four degrees in more rural areas, the night before the cars were all stolen, with the deep freeze expected to continue today.
MeteoGroup weather forecasters were again predicting lows of -2C overnight and into this morning and suggested that temperatures would not get any higher than 5C today.
Nick Starling, director of General Insurance for the Association of British Insurers, said: “No-one wants to freeze while defrosting their car. But tempting though it is in cold weather, never leave your vehicle with the engine running to warm up while you nip back inside, even if it is only for a couple of minutes, as it only takes seconds for thieves to strike.
“Stay with your vehicle while it warms up, so that you drive away in a warm car, not a thief.”