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Anti car crime campaign - Cherwell

Monday 19 November 2012, 3:08pm

Police in Cherwell say a campaign launched to combat car number plate thefts and drive-offs from petrol stations has been a huge success.

The Vehicle Identity Protection Scheme (VIPS) has seen a massive drop in both crimes since it was introduced to north Oxfordshire in April.

Figures show that number plate thefts were down 67.4% and that drive-offs from garage forecourts were cut by 44.3% during April, May and June compared to the same period last year.

And new figures for July to September show that number plate thefts fell by 48.1% and drive-offs by 8.2% compared to the corresponding months in 2011.

VIPS is a Cherwell Crime Partnership initiative and was launched to tackle the two fastest growing crimes in the area.

Andy Boyd

Supt Andy Boyd, Local Police Area Commander, said: “There had been an increasing number of thefts of car number plates, and a rise in petrol thefts from forecourts.”

He said: “The two crimes are linked. Stolen registration plates are used by thieves who drive away from petrol stations without paying for fuel. They are also used  by criminals who commit serious crimes that require getaway cars. Number plate thieves can also avoid speeding fines, parking tickets and congestion charges.”

Supt Boyd added: “The innocent owners of the plates are usually the first to be questioned by police investigating the crimes – and receive letters demanding payment of speeding and parking fines.”

Vehicle owners can play a part in keeping their number plates safe by fitting anti-theft number plate screws which are available free of charge from Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington police stations and from garages and MOT stations across Cherwell as part of an MOT test.

Participating garages are listed on the partnership website www.cherwellsafe.org.

June Lynes, co-ordinator for the Crime Partnership, said: “Motorists who have their number plates stolen should immediately report the theft to the police by dialling 101.

“Petrol stations across Cherwell have a list of stolen registration numbers and a live radio link with other forecourts and local police stations so that they can report incidents as they happen.

“Motorists who find number plates missing often blame vandals, but there is usually a more serious reason. By letting us know of number plate thefts, drivers may be able to prevent crimes being committed, and help us catch the thieves.”

* VIPS has also been recognised nationally.

It received the Innovation Excellence Award at this year’s annual conference of the Association of Business Crime Partnerships.

Mrs Lynes said: “This is the second time we have won an excellence award and we are delighted that our work has again been recognised in this way.

“In 2010 when we expanded Banbury Crime Partnership into the Cherwell Crime Partnership we won the excellence award for Promoting Community Safety.”

Crime Partnership chairman Cllr Tina Wren said: “There are more than 240 crime partnerships in England and Wales and to receive this recognition is a tremendous boost for the Cherwell team.”

LB

Notes for editors:
Pictured from left: Superintendent Andy Boyd, Cherwell LPA; Councillor Tina Wren, Chair of Cherwell Crime Partnership - Banbury;Arrash Farahani of Cock Horse Service Station Warwick Road Banbury;June Lynes, Co-ordinator, Cherwell Crime Partnership - Banbury.

Press Bureau
(01865) 846699

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