Police warn of theft risk if drivers leave their car running to defrost

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Police are warning motorists not to leave their car unattended with the engine running as it defrosts in the icy weather.

Although it's tempting to get the engine started and then carry on getting ready while your car warms up, thieves are on the lookout.

Warwickshire Police said that on Tuesday morning there was a report of a Landrover Discovery being stolen while it was left defrosting in Warwick. There was also a report of an attempted theft of a different vehicle that was left to defrost in Ryton-on-Dunsmore.

Chief Inspector Faz Chishty from Warwickshire Police said: "Opportunist thieves operate in residential areas on cold frosty mornings to look out for cars which have been left with the engine running.

"It's important that motorists leave extra time to go outside and de-ice their windows themselves, rather than leaving the car unlocked and the engine running.

"Whilst this may feel like an inconvenience, it only takes a matter of seconds for a vehicle thief to jump in and drive off."

The police have issued the following advice for preparing your car on icy mornings:

- Always ensure your windscreen and other windows and mirrors are fully de-iced and de-misted before driving off. Driving without clear visibility is illegal, and puts yourself and other road users at risk.

- When de-icing your windows, never leave your car unattended with the keys in the ignition, even for a second.

- Stock-up on de-icing materials before the cold spell starts.

- Once the windscreen has cleared, use air conditioning or heating to keep the glass mist-free.

- Cover your windscreen with a blanket or windshield cover the night before frost is forecast. This will shorten the time it takes to clear your windscreen in the morning.

- Put your car away in the garage if one is available. This not only keeps the car frost-free but also out of sight of would-be car thieves.

- Get up a few minutes earlier if frost has been forecast. This will give you extra time to go outside and defrost your car before you need to set off for work.

- Ensure your wiper blades are in good condition and make sure you have plenty of washer fluid.

- Check your tyres are correctly inflated and have a legal tyre tread.

- Plan your journey and allow plenty of time as you may need to drive more slowly, particularly in fog, snow and heavy rain.

How long does it take to get your car ready on a frosty morning?

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