A police campaign was launched yesterday to combat vehicle crime in the Highlands.
Operation Quarterlight is offering some simple but important security advice to the public to help prevent their cars being stolen or broken into.
The campaign, which formally started in Edinburgh but runs in the Highlands until Friday, is displaying posters in police stations and community centres across the region.
Detective Inspector Mark Czerniakiewicz, who is spearheading the Highland campaign, said that although vehicle crime is low in the area, it is still present.
A number of incidents were reported last week in Lerwick, Dingwall and Nairn.
Preventive steps being highlighted include removing devices such as laptops and i-pads from the vehicle, keeping car keys in a safe place and ensuring the car alarm is set.
Marking valuables in the car with names and addresses also helps police to identify any stolen objects, retrieve them and make convictions. Equipment can be registered at www.immobilise.com
Police are also advising neighbours who notice suspicious activity late at night to contact them immediately, as car theft is often committed by people under the influence of alcohol at such times.
Mr Czerniakiewicz said: “If your car is damaged or broken in to, it is very inconvenient for you and it is very expensive to pay the insurance excess. You can also end up having to take time off work and cancel what you had planned for that day. It has a big effect on people.
“The message is really the same no matter where you live, that if you do these simple things it will mean your car is not the one that is targeted.
“If you do find your vehicle with the window broken just pause, don’t touch the vehicle and don’t move it or drive it. Just pick up the phone and call the police. This will increase the chances of recovering forensic evidence.
“I think in the Highlands we are potentially too laid back and I don’t want crime that is happening elsewhere to be happening here.
“We do have a number of individuals who we know from car related crime and during the period of this campaign, if we see any hot spot areas we will target them and seize the assets off those responsible.”