“IT DOESN’T take long for a car thief to strike.”

That’s the message from New Forest Chief Inspector Tony Rowlinson, who has warned those who park their cars in the area to take valuables with them.

The officer said it can take just 10 seconds for a determined thief to steal items from a car.

“Car crime does occur in the district and local police teams are doing a lot to combat it,” he said.

“But drivers are asked to help us outsmart the criminal by not leaving any personal belongings in their cars.

“Don’t be tempted to merely put items in the boot, under a seat or cover them with a blanket.”

New Forest District Council’s portfolio holder for housing and communities, Councillor Jill Cleary, said: “Most vehicle crime is preventable.

“Don’t make your car a target for thieves by leaving sought-after items like, for example, CDs, mobiles and laptops on show.”

Visit safer.newforest.gov.uk for more advice.