Theft warning for drivers: don’t leave cars running while they’re defrosting

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Now that the cold winter weather has arrived, Police Scotland are reminding motorists in East Dunbartonshire not to leave their engines running when they defrost their cars.

During the frosty weather the police inevitably receive reports of cars being stolen while they are being defrosted.

Drivers are often tempted to leave their engines running while their car warms up leaving it in danger of being taken.

Most car thieves are opportunists looking for that one chance to steal a car.

Others take advantage of the cold weather and are actively on the lookout for an easy target.

Offences like these can easily be avoided and officers are urging everyone to remove their keys from the ignition whenever their vehicle is unattended and make sure it is locked and that all additional security measures are activated.

On icy mornings when the car needs to be defrosted people should stay with it.

It is actually an offence to leave an unattended vehicle with the engine running on a public road. It is also vitally important that people are vigilant and that they report anyone acting suspiciously to the police.

Chief Inspector Rob Hay area commander for East Dunbartonshire said: “On frosty mornings there is an increased likelihood of vehicles being stolen whilst being defrosted by their owners. This may in some cases invalidate your vehicle insurance. I would like to discourage motorists from leaving their engines running even if the car is on their own driveways. Where my officers come across a vehicle left in these circumstances they will lock and secure it and return the keys immediately to the owner.

“It is also important from a road safety perspective that drivers clear the whole windscreen and not just a small patch in front of the steering wheel. If your view is in any way obscured, be it because it’s misted up or it’s covered in ice or snow, then you put yourself and others in serious danger.

“Please leave sufficient time to properly clear your vehicle in the mornings, it could save you a fine or prevent you from being in an accident”