A SPATE of thefts of Land Rover Defenders in the Ribble Valley has prompted police to warn motorists of the problem, and step up attempts to catch those responsible.
Six officers set up a stop and search crackdown at Gisburn Auction Mart last Thursday, as part of Operation Defender.
Throughout the day, they managed to stop and speak to 80 owners of Land Rover Defenders.
Sgt Graham Marshall, of Clitheroe Police, was leading the crackdown.
He said: “We have had a spate of high-value car thefts, particularly Land Rover Defenders.
“There have been four stolen from the Ribble Valley in the past two weeks. The prices of the vehicles have ranged from £3,000 to £30,000.
“In the most recent incident, the thieves took a Land Rover Defender from outside a house in West Bradford by loading it on to a breakdown recovery truck.
“There have been similar style thefts in Whalley, Simonstone and Gisburn Road, Blacko.
“We believe the same group of thieves is behind the incidents.”
He added: “In Operation Defender, we stopped Land Rovers and spoke to the owners about stepping up security by installing a clutch lock or steering wheel lock.
“Drivers also received leaflets on crime prevention advice.
“The response from the public has been fantastic. We are urging people who may have information regarding the thefts, or have spotted anything suspicious in their neighbourhood, to get in touch with us by calling 01200 443344.
“They can also contact the free and confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555111.”