'Bait' cars help cut vehicle crime in Trowbridge

Police "bait" cars are being credited for reducing the number of vehicles being stolen in a Wiltshire town.

The specially-equipped cars are left with phones, sat navs, laptops and other valuables on display.

They are parked in areas of Trowbridge where car crime is a problem and police hope they will be targeted by thieves.

When they are broken into, a text message is sent to nearby officers detailing what has been taken from the vehicle.

Some of the items in the cars are equipped with GPS tracking devices to enable police to find where the stolen goods are being held.

The "ordinary-looking" cars are fitted with hidden cameras to record evidence which can be used in court.

Operation Chariot is Wiltshire Police's response to a spike in car-related crime late last year.

Insp Lisette Harvey said: "We arrested some people, some are in prison now and some have been charged with criminal offences relating to vehicle crime.

"I wanted that to carry on and to for us to prevent as much as we can."

The force started the bait car scheme in February using a mixture of old and new cars - in various states of repair - left parked and locked up in known car crime hotspots.

A force spokesman said since the bait car operation started it has seen a 16% fall in vehicle-related crime in the town.

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