Twelve vehicles were broken into during a fleeting crime spree in an Uttlesford village last week.

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Thieves struck in Great Chesterford between January 8-10 – primarily targeting Volkswagen cars and stealing sat navs and cash from as little as £1.

It has sparked a renewed police appeal for residents across the district to remain vigilant and keep valuables out of sight.

Three cars were raided in Carmel Street, three in High Street, two in South Street, and one in Carmen Street, School Street, Newmarket Road and Church Street.

To get into the vehicles thieves either forced or drilled the lock on the driver’s side door. Six of the cars were Volkswagen Polos, while a Golf, Passat and Audi Estate were also targeted.

Pc Steve Sharma, of Saffron Walden Police Station, said the spate of thefts were the “gravest concern” for officers because of the possibility of similar raids elsewhere in the district.

“I don’t want to alarm people but people need to be alarmed,” he said. “It’s important that residents keep an eye out and, if they have got outside illumination where their car is parked, to make sure it’s turned on. These people do not like to be seen.”

In the majority of Chesterford’s car thefts, the damage caused breaking into the vehicle was higher than the value of what was stolen. Well over £500 of damage was estimated but only £300 in cash and valuables were taken.

Pc Sharma added: “Most residents have got used to not leaving anything valuable in their cars. Unfortunately these people don’t know what they’re going to find until they get in, and sometimes end up taking just £1 from the ash tray.”

Last month Saffron Walden was targeted in similar fashion.

Four cars, in Westfields, Mount Pleasant Road, Victoria Avenue and Summer Hill Road, respectively, were broken into overnight on December 9. Only one owner reported items stolen but the total damage was estimated at £200.

Thieves also stole sat navs and fog lights from two vehicles in Hollow Road, Elmdon, on the same night.

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