THIEVES are targeting car parks in a popular dog walking area.
Berkhamsted Sgt Peter Huffer warns drivers to be on the lookout while parking in Ashridge, as many of its car parks are “shrouded from public view” by trees.
Police are dealing with one or two thefts a month in the area, with more occuring in the summer.
In the latest incident, off New Road, the side window of a Berkhamsted woman’s car was smashed by a crook, who stole her handbag. The victim, in her 60s, is “very shocked and upset”.
She had left her handbag, with her purse and petty cash in it, under a front seat, while walking her dog between 11.45am and 1pm on Sunday.
Police believe thieves may be watching the area to target drivers who leave valuables in their cars.
Sgt Huffer said: “This is a very unpleasant crime. These people are preying on vulnerable members of the public enjoying the National Trust land, and it is very sad that people behave this way.”
If you can help solve the latest theft, phone police on 101 quoting D2/12/552.
Sgt Huffer added: “This time of crime in this location has been occurring once or twice a month over a very large area.
“Police carry out regular patrols in the area to disrupt any would be thieves, including patrols by the safer neighbourhood teams and designated rural special constables.”
The sergeant urged visitors and dog walkers to leave all valuables at home, and where possible empty the car boot, and remove the parcel shelf, empty the glove box and leave it open to display to any would be thief that there is nothing in the vehicle to steal.
He said: “Invariably crimes of this nature only occur when there are valuable’s left in the car.
“The crime prevention message is clear.
“Do not leave valuables in the car, placing hand bags beneath seats does not secure them, as the thief may even be watching from a distance and will know that items have been left there.”