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Last Updated: Monday, 22 September, 2003, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Car crime slashed in Beacons
Cars on Brecon Beacons
Only 23 thefts from cars have been reported in the last year
An innovative car park watch scheme has proved a success with thefts from cars halved in the past year.

The project was set up after an increase in car theft from some of Wales' favourite beauty spots, including those run by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.

The scheme involves volunteers trained by Dyfed-Powys Police officers and issued with fluorescent jackets and badges.

Satellite phones linked to police cars patrolling the area are used to maintain close contact with local police.

The scheme has gone a long way towards ensuring that visitors can leave their cars in safety and enjoy the national park
Jon Pimm, Beacons park authority

The scheme also resulted in several thieves - mostly from Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil - caught while breaking into cars.

According to police at Brecon, the number of thefts from cars has been reduced from 51 last year to 23.

Overseas visitors

Powys council will launch a similar scheme in the north of the county next year.

"This is a fantastic achievement for all concerned and the scheme has gone a long way towards ensuring that visitors can leave their cars in safety and enjoy the National Park," said Jon Pimm, of the park authority.

According to police, overseas visitors were often worst affected by car crime.

"In common with many remote car parks located in beauty spots around the country, car crime has become a growing concern," said Jackie Heighway, Brecon police's community safety officer.

Car park watch volunteers
More volunteers are needed to extend the scheme

"This has put many people off walking in some of the most beautiful countryside in Wales.

"We are delighted the presence of volunteers has had a dramatic effect on reducing car crime."

A volunteer recruitment day will be held at Gwarnant Visitor Centre on Saturday 27 September so that the whole of the national park can be covered.

"Being a volunteer for the car park scheme is a great way to get out and about into the woodlands and help the local community," said Mansel Jones of the Forestry Commission Wales.

"The volunteers that monitor the scheme are usually between 40 and 60 years old but we would be happy to hear from anyone that has some spare time on their hands."

Fighting beauty spot car crime
08 Jul 03  |  Wales
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22 Aug 03  |  Wales
Warning over 4x4 thefts
24 Jan 03  |  England

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