Police Scotland is once again repeating a plea to the public to ensure their homes, vehicles and valuables are locked and secure following a spate of thefts across the North East where insecure properties have been the main target.
Numerous opportunistic sneak-in thefts have occurred across a number of rural locations in Aberdeenshire and, in the majority of cases, the perpetrators have been successful where vehicles and properties have been left unlocked, giving easy access to valuables and keys.
In the early hours of this morning (Wednesday November 23) properties in Fraserburgh and New Deer were targeted and two vehicles taken - a black Ford Focus from outside a property in Fraserburgh and a yellow Citroen DS3 from New Deer. A number of vehicles and properties in the Methlick area were also entered.
Over the last four weeks properties in Rothienorman, Tipperty, Balmedie, Ellon, Oldmeldrum, Pitmedden and Udny were also targeted, with vehicles taken, car keys, motorcycles, bicycles, handbags, wallets, purses, power tools and electronic items such as tablet computers.
Detective Inspector Stuart McAdam said: "Once again my message would be to please, please ensure the doors and windows to your home, vehicle or any outbuildings are locked and secure at all times, even if you are at home. In the majority of cases these incidents have been entirely opportunistic, where the perpetrators appear to have arrived in different locations in Aberdeenshire and tried door handles to cars, garages, sheds and houses in the hope they are open. In most cases they have been able to gain access quickly and easily and been able to steal from within.
"Tackling acquisitive and opportunistic crime is a priority for North East Division under Operation Magpie and a huge amount of preventative and proactive work is being carried out on a daily basis. We will continue to use all available resources and tactics available to us to detect those responsible, including use of the Police Scotland helicopter.
"What is crucial however is assistance from the public to ensure these people don't stand a chance in the first place. It doesn't cost a thing to lock up and could save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run. I would urge you to never leave items of value on display where someone looking in can see them, and also to not leave your car keys near your front door. In addition by leaving your property and valuables insecure you could negate any insurance claim.
"If you have noticed or notice any suspicious activity - day or night - please let us know as soon as possible. Look out for unfamiliar vehicles or persons and most importantly, tell us. There won't be any issue with officers attending a false call made in good faith.
"The nights are now dark more quickly so I would urge you to consider your home and vehicle security as soon as possible. It's never too late to make sure you have effective security procedures in place, and it doesn't have to cost a lot - it can be as simple as ensuring your security lights are working and outbuildings or sheds are secure with effective padlocks.
"Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you would prefer to remain anonymous."