POLICE are warning motorists to be on their guard following a 12.3 per cent rise in the number of thefts from vehicles in Dorset.

From April 1 last year until January 27 this year 355 offences were committed with 13 reported break-ins to vehicles parked at beauty spots, including rural car parks in Wareham, Wimborne and Blandford this month alone.

Chief Inspector Jared Parkin said: “Following a recent increase in vehicles being broken into, I’m encouraging motorists to take simple steps to reduce the chances of thieves targeting their cars.

“I’d encourage motorists to make sure they leave their vehicles securely locked and don’t leave valuables or items like handbags on display or hidden away.”

Christchurch neighbourhood inspector Lance Cliff said: “We’ve seen some cars broken into even when they are parked on the owner’s driveway and an increase in the number of vans being broken into.”