Norfolk motorists are being urged to keep their vehicles secure following a spate van thefts.

The warning has been issued after 23 Mercedes Sprinter vans were stolen in the Great Yarmouth, Broadland, South Norfolk and King’s Lynn areas since 1 January (2019).

Vans have generally been stolen overnight during the week from residential areas and car parks.

Many are stolen without keys and it is thoughts suspects are gaining entry by replacing the ECU (Engine Control Unit).

Officers are urging owners of such vehicles to be vigilant and take sensible precautions.

The majority of offences have happened in Yarmouth where 18 vans have been stolen.

Chief Inspector Nathan Clark said: “We’ve seen a rise in the theft of vans in the area, with Mercedes Sprinter vans being the primary target.

“I would urge anyone who owns a Sprinter van to be vigilant and take sensible measures to protect your vehicle.

“If it’s an option, keep your van parked overnight in a secure compound. If you park on a residential street, try to park in well-lit areas.

“Mechanical locking devices, such as steering or gearstick locks and wheel clamps, could also help to deter thieves.”

Anyone who may have information about the vehicle thefts should contact Norfolk Constabulary on 101 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.