Vandals thought to have targeted around 30 vehicles in 'keying' spree

The bonnet of a Mercedes-Benz in Saffron Walden with scratch marks on the bonnet

The owner of this Mercedes-Benz in the Rowntree Way area woke up to scrapes and scratches on the bonnet - Credit: Supplied

Around 30 cars in Saffron Walden have been damaged in a spree of 'keying' incidents, residents have claimed.

Initial reports suggested that around five cars were 'keyed' in Swan Meadow Car Park and the Rowntree Way area overnight between December 31 and January 1.

But residents believe that around 30 vehicles were damaged throughout the town, with more incidents reported on Sheds Lane and Loompits Way.

An Audi's fuel cap is on the floor

This Audi's fuel cap is on the floor of Swan Meadow Car Park, Saffron Walden - Credit: Oliver Pottrill-Holland

Cars have been pictured with their fuel caps torn off, windscreen wipers pulled back and expletives scraped into their bonnets.

The words "Barry Boy" were scraped into some of the vehicles' paint.

Essex Police said it had received a large number of reports and officers have increased their patrols in Saffron Walden.

A car with the words "Barry Boy" written on the door at Swan Meadow Car Park, Saffron Walden

Around 30 cars in Saffron Walden are now believed to have 'keying' marks on them after a spree overnight between December 31 and January 1. - Credit: Oliver Pottrill-Holland

One victim, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that having his car damaged ruined New Year celebrations.

He said: "The incident destroyed my New Year's Day, and will definitely have a financial impact.

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"I am someone who takes great care of their car, and I feel frustrated every time I look at it now.

"I say proudly to friends that Saffron Walden is a great town to live in, and that it is calm with very low crime rates.

"Then this happens!

"I don't know what anyone can do to be completely safe."

He added that claiming on his insurance could impact his no-claims bonus.

A car parked on Sheds Lane, Saffron Walden with 'keying' scratch marks down the side

This car on Sheds Lane has scratch marks on its door - Credit: Supplied

An Essex Police spokesperson confirmed that around 30 incidents had been reported and that they are investigating criminal damage.

They added: "Following reports of criminal damage to vehicles at Swan Meadow Car Park, Saffron Walden officers have been conducting regular patrols of the car park and surrounding areas to deter criminal activity and anti-social behaviour."

Essex Police said that no arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.

Officers are collecting evidence online, and anybody with information can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk/

Witnesses can also use the 'Live Chat' facility online or the 101 phone number, quoting crime reference number 42/607/22.

Alternatively, information can be handed to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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