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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 July, 2003, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Fighting beauty spot car crime
Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons is coping with a seasonal crime surge
Countryside car criminals are in the sights of police keen to keep holidaymakers' vehicles safe from summer theft.

Thefts from cars parked in some of Wales' favourite beauty spots are increasing, according to officers, souring a weekend away for many.

Overseas visitors are often worst affected, leaving their vehicles for a stroll only to find their possessions stolen.

Two police forces teamed up on Tuesday to unveil a new programme which will involve shared intelligence to protect car owners from the seasonal surge.

Dyfed-Powys Police has noted a "marked increase" in car thefts at the Brecon Beacons National Park, one of Wales' tourist havens.

Park in well-lit, manned car park
Fit a steering lock/alarm
Buy removable CD/cassette player
Never leave property in car
Have a lockable petrol cap
Source: South Wales Police
Brecon Pc Owen Dillon said: "We have got a problem in the area.

"We are targeting the people who come over here by getting intelligence on them. We are studying their patterns, finding out who is committing these crimes.

"We are taking the fight across to them in home estates. If any offences are committed, we will go and find them."

It has resulted in several direct hits with police catching 17 thieves - mostly from Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff - while breaking into cars in the park area.

Merthyr Pc Richard Gardner added: "In areas of outstanding natural beauty, there may be people around looking for an opportunity to steal visitors' belongings.

"Vehicles from Norway and Denmark - places like that - come in to our beautiful countryside and have things taken.

"There is so much inconvenience because of things taken that are no use whatsoever to the criminal - passports, currency, clothing."

Police issued guidelines, warning car owners how to keep vehicles safe this summer.

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