Are you feeling the festive shopping fever yet? In the run up to Christmas, many stores open round the clock to help last‐minute shoppers. But when parking your car after dark in the winter, be careful as the cover of night can provide rich pickings for car thieves wanting to bag a few early stockings fillers for themselves.

Tips to help prevent car crime during the winter:

Always park in busy, well‐lit, open locations if possible, or secure car parks that are supervised.

Don’t leave things in your car. But if you must, then remove them from view and lock them in the boot or glovebox. A thief will break a window to grab shopping bags, a handbag, leather jacket, mobile phone or tablet

Hide shopping bags and gift boxes from prying eyes by extending the load bay cover in the boot of your estate car.

Never leave your phone, wallet or purse locked in the glovebox or boot. Take them with you.

For valuable or cars that have an emotional attachment, consider fitting them with an anti‐theft tracking device. These will alert the driver that the car has been stolen within minutes, and can help police find the stolen car.

As professional car thieves become better at cracking electronic security systems, ironically it’s good old-fashioned manual locking systems that discourage them. What’s the toughest of the lot? Disklok (disklokuk.co.uk)