LAND Rover owners have been warned to be on their guard after vehicles left in secluded areas near Uttoxeter were stripped for parts.
Twice in the last week owners of the off-road car have returned their vehicle only to find doors, the bonnet and parts of the front end have been stolen.
Staffordshire Police’s Inspector Rob Neeson has now warned owners not to leave their cars in unobserved secluded spots.
He said: “It’s difficult because if you live in a secluded area, which some people who own Land Rovers do, they need to be aware that this crime has been occurring and they could be targeted.”
Thieves removed all of the doors, the bonnet and front end of a limited edition Land Rover 110 Excess which had been left in the car park at the Meynell Ingram Arms, in Hoar Cross.
The theft took place overnight between Thursday, January 2 and the next day – just fives day after crooks pilfered a similar model.
On that occasion a Land Rover Defender left in Hilsea Crescent, near Marchington Industrial Estate, was stripped of its bonnet and rear doors on Saturday, December 28.
Insp Neeson said these two thefts mirrored the growth of a worrying trend across the county.
He said: “There has been an increase across the force area of Land Rovers being targeted and having parts removed.
“It’s surprising because it’s not your run-of-the-mill theft from a motor vehicle. They are looking for specific parts on a Land Rover.
“These cars have been parked in quiet locations such as the pub car park.
“There are houses in the area but there is not a lot of traffic.
“Two of these incidents in a few days is very unusual so I would advise people to make sure they park in well-lit areas.
“This way thieves do not get the chance to remove the parts.”
Insp Neeson added that he did not know exactly how the value of the parts, but he estimated a door panel could be worth up to £10,000.
He said: “I have got no idea how much these items fetch.
“A door for a normal car is thousands of pounds so a top-of-the-range- Land Rover could be £10,000.”
Anyone with any information on the offences is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101 to speak to an officer.
Alternatively, they can contact independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, by calling 0800 555111.
The Meynell Ingram Arms was recently given a £500,000 renovation.
The building had been falling into disrepair but, in a move described by owners as a ‘labour of love’, the popular country pub has been given a face lift.
This has seen an increase in custom, particularly from affluent residents in the nearby area, with many leaving their vehicles in the car park overnight.
Marchington Industrial Estate has also seen more traffic recently after a new welding school opened there last year.
The training centre, pioneered by Momentum, a specialist recruitment agency whose headquarters is in Uttoxeter, has already filled hundreds of jobs.