Crime prevention services & issues

Please report anything suspicious to the police immediately

You can help yourself by being vigilant and securing carefully your homes and possessions. Remember always to have an eye to the security of both your house and any garage, sheds or outbuildings, both during the daytime and at night, when you're away and when your at home!

Contact numbers

 

HYKEHAM RURAL Neighbourhood Policing Team [WS June 2015] See images of of the team members

 

Topical issues are aired and forthcoming events detailed each month in The Witham Staple printed magazine: 

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A list of contacts for local interest  and community groups is updated in September each year:

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The Witham Staple is mandated to reflect what is happening in our Lincolnshire community (i.e. the villages of Aubourn, Bassingham, Carlton le Moorland, Norton Disney, Stapleford, Thurlby, Witham St Hughs and the rural areas surrounding these villages).

 

Some articles published in The Witham Staple over the years:

Summertime Crime Prevention Advice Beware of Summertime Crime – Holiday Checklist

Top Tips for Keeping Yourself and Your Property Safe

Drink Drive Competition

Security Lighting  

Doorstep Crime

Tips For Keeping Yourself and Your Property Safe: at Home and in the Car

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Crime Prevention Contact Numbers

Please report anything suspicious to the police immediately.

For reporting crimes or incidents, that need immediate action, you

should always call 101 for this purpose or 999 in an emergency.

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Crimestoppers - call anonymously with information about crime

Tel: 0800 555111

Over 25 years of fighting crime
An introduction to the charity Crimestoppers
The Independent charity Crimestoppers has been fighting crime since the organisation was launched in 1988.
Lord Ashcroft, KCMG, formed the charity following the murder of Metropolitan Police Officer, Keith Blakelock, during the Tottenham riots in October 1985.
The purpose of launching the charity was to encourage members of the public with information on criminal activity to come forward anonymously, without the fear of their identity being revealed, without having to give a statement to police and without having to go to court.
Since its launch, Crimestoppers UK has gone from strength-to-strength, taking over 1.3 million phone calls, which has led to over 120,000 arrests, £125 million of goods being recovered and £292 million of drugs being seized.
Crimestoppers works closely with police forces across the UK and law enforcement organisations including the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Our independence from the police and law enforcement is what makes us unique, which is why so many people contact us with information anonymously.
It is our work within local communities that really makes Crimestoppers successful. Crimestoppers has employees spread throughout the UK who engage with local people to find out about the crimes and issues affecting their community. This way, we can focus our efforts on those crimes and attempt to create a safer environment for the local community to live in.
Our staff are supported by a network of volunteers throughout the UK. These volunteers come from varying backgrounds such as media, businesses or local government, bringing relevant skills to the table that aids Crimestoppers’ work in their area.
Passing on information about crime became easier in March 2012 when Crimestoppers launched a mini mobile version of its website and its youth service website, Fearless.org.
Fearless is aimed at 11-16 year olds and aims to educate and inform youngsters about crime and encourage them to pass on information anonymously.
In addition to educating youngsters on crime and working with local communities, locating UK fugitives through campaigns alongside other crime agencies is also something Crimestoppers has been at the forefront of over the last seven years.
Operation Captura was launched in Spain in 2006 to locate wanted individuals believed to be hiding in the Costas for serious crimes committed in the UK. The campaign, in which Crimestoppers works closely with SOCA and the Spanish authorities, has seen tremendous results, with 49 out of 65 wanted individuals located and arrested**. A similar campaign run in Amsterdam has seen 12 wanted criminals appealed for – with five of them arrested**.
Crimestoppers expanded its fugitive campaigns in September 2012 after launching a third campaign, this time in Cyprus.
The campaign appealed for information from local residents and the ex-patriot community to help locate nine individuals wanted for crimes including sexual offences, fraud and drug offences.
Within 48 hours of the launch, Paul Lockwood, 41, from Oldham, was located and arrested, while a few weeks later, couple Wayne Smith and Julie Skelding were also brought back to the UK.
If you would like to pass on information about crime anonymously you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through the charity’s secure online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please fill out a volunteer enquiry form http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/support-us/volunteering/become-a-volunteer

[WS June 2013]

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Summertime Crime Prevention Advice Beware of Summertime Crime – Holiday Checklist

Leave small valuable items, like jewellery, on deposit at the bank, or consider installing a small floor safe. Don’t lock internal doors or desks – they may be forced if someone does break in

Arrange for pets to be properly looked after

Cut lawns before you go

Mark any valuables with your postcode followed by a house number or the first two letters of the house name.

Ask your local neighbourhood policing team for ‘post coded property’ warning stickers to display in the front and back windows of your house. Also take photographs of all valuable items. This is particularly important for those which may be unsuitable for marking.

Cancel deliveries of milk, newspapers etc discreetly – don’t announce your departure to a shop full of people. Only tell people who need to know you’re going away.

Reduce the risk of your home being broken into by taking some simple home security measures.

Make sure your house looks occupied. Closed curtains in the daytime makes it look as if no one is at home – ask a trusted neighbour to collect post, open and close curtains.

Don’t leave valuable items like televisions, stereo systems or computers visible through windows

It is worthwhile to get automatic time switches to switch lights and a radio on and off in downstairs rooms

Lock the garage and shed with proper security locks, after putting all your tools safely away so they cannot be used to break into your house. If you have to leave a ladder out, put it on its side and lock it to a secure fixture with a ‘close-shackle’ padlock and heavy-duty chain. Don’t have your home address showing on your luggage for the outward journey. Put this only on the inside of your cases.

Finally, lock all outside doors and windows. If you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set – and that you have told the police who the key-holder is

AND.. ... just before you actually set off it’s worth allowing a quiet couple of minutes on the doorstep to check you’ve done all you had to do and taken everything you need with you. Happy Holiday!

Open windows and doors may let the fresh air in but they also allow easy access and provide tempting opportunities for thieves who need just seconds to walk or reach in and take purses and other valuables from tables and worktops. Don’t give thieves an open invitation.

A determined burglar can get through the smallest of open windows. So, whenever you go out - no matter how long for, make sure you shut all windows and doors.

Try to follow the guidelines below to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of burglary or theft:

[WS July 2012]

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Top Tips for Keeping Yourself and Your Property Safe

Burglary – How to avoid becoming a victim - Police Advice:

The Lincolnshire Police website promotes more crime prevention measures and also has a fantastic Interactive page. Go to http://www.lincs.police.uk and then look under Safety Advice. The team also offers free property marking visits if anyone is interested, get in contact.

[WS June 2012]

 

Staying safe at home
Make sure your house or flat is secure. Always secure outside doors. Fit barrel locks top and bottom. If you have to use a key, keep it in a safe place away from the door where you can find it quickly in an emergency – you may need to use the door in the event of fire.
 

If other people such as previous tenants could still have keys that fit, change the locks. Don’t give keys to workmen or tradesmen, as they can easily make copies.
 

If you wake to hear the sound of an intruder, only you can decide how best to handle the situation. You may want to lie quietly to avoid attracting attention to yourself, in the hope that they will leave. Or you may feel more confident if you switch on the lights and make a lot of noise by moving about. Even if you’re on your own, call out loudly to an imaginary companion – most burglars will flee empty-handed rather than risking a confrontation. Ring the police as soon as it’s safe for you to do so. A telephone extension in your bedroom will make you feel more secure as it allows you to call the police immediately, without alerting the intruder.
 

Draw your curtains after dark and if you think there is a prowler outside – dial 999
 

Use only your surname and initials in the telephone directory and on the doorplate. That way a stranger won’t know if a man or a woman lives there.
 

If you see signs of a break-in at your home, like a smashed window or open door, don’t go in. Go to a neighbour and call the police.
 

When you answer the phone, simply say ‘hello’; don’t give your number. If the caller claims to have a wrong number, ask him or her to repeat the number required. Never reveal any information about yourself to a stranger and never say you are alone in the house.
 

Staying safe when you’re out and about
 

If you often walk home in the dark, get a personal attack alarm from a DIY store or ask your local crime prevention officer where you can buy one. Carry it in your hand so you can use it immediately to scare off an attacker. Make sure it is designed to continue sounding if it’s dropped or falls to the ground.
 

Carry your bag close to you with the clasp facing inwards. Carry your house keys in your pocket. If someone grabs your bag, let it go. If you hang on, you could get hurt. Remember your safety is more important than your property.
 

If you think someone is following you, check by crossing the street – more than once if necessary – to see if he follows. If you are still worried, get to the nearest place where there are other people – a pub or anywhere with a lot of lights on – and call the police. Avoid using an enclosed phonebox in the street, as the attacker could trap you inside.
 

If you regularly go jogging or cycling, try to vary your route and time. Stick to well-lit roads with pavements. On commons and parklands, keep to main paths and open spaces where you can see and be seen by other people – avoid wooded areas. If you wear a personal stereo, remember you can’t hear traffic, or somebody approaching behind you.
 

Don’t take short-cuts through dark alleys, parks or across waste ground. Walk facing the traffic so a car cannot pull up behind you unnoticed.
 

If a car stops and you are threatened, scream and shout, and set off your personal attack alarm if you have one. Get away as quickly as you can. This will gain you vital seconds and make it more difficult for the car driver to follow. If you can, make a mental note of the number and description of the car. Write down details as soon as possible afterwards.
 

Self-defence and safety awareness classes may help you feel more secure. Ask your local police or your work if they have classes.
 

When driving
 

Before a long trip, make sure your vehicle is in good condition.
 

Plan how to get to your destination before leaving, and stay on main roads if you can.
 

Make sure you have enough money and petrol. Carry a spare petrol can.
 

Keep change and a phone card in case you need to make a telephone call. Carry a torch.
 

Before you leave, tell anyone you are planning to meet what time you think you will get there, and the route you are taking.
 

Keep doors locked when driving and keep any bag, carphone or valuables out of sight. If you have the window open, only wind it down a little. Don’t wind it down far enough to allow someone to reach in while you are stopped in traffic.
 

After dark, park in a well-lit, busy place. Look around before you get out. If you’re parking in daylight, but coming back for your car at night, think about how things will look in the dark.
 

Have your key ready when you go back to your car.
 

If your car develops problems, find a telephone. On motorways follow the marker arrows to the closest phone. They are never placed any more than a mile apart, on opposite sides of the motorway. Never cross the carriageway to use a phone.
 

While on the hard shoulder or telephoning, keep a sharp look-out and don’t accept lifts from strangers – wait for the police or breakdown service. Don’t wait in the car – there is a high risk of an accident. Wait on the embankment nearby with the front passenger door open. If someone approaches you or you feel threatened, lock yourself in the car and speak to them through a small gap in the window.
 

Please check your headlights – you can do this by shining them on wall or get someone to assist you – the community panel stated that they have seen a lot of one eyed car’s at the moment!!

[WS Dec 2007]

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Drink Drive Competition

Shattered Dreams During the months of November and December, the beat team ran the annual drink drive competition at Witham St Hughs, Bassingham and Brant Broughton Primary Schools. This entailed us going into the older children’s lessons and talking to them about speeding and drink driving. The children were then asked to design a poster illustrating the dangers of speeding and driving whilst under the influence of alcohol. We had a very good response of a high standard which made the judging even harder for NKDC Councillor Pat Woodman but the winners were announced and in a presentation ceremony received their prizes. Congratulations to 10 year old Holly Mammatt from Bassingham Primary School who won first prize: a family day-pass at Sherwood Forest donated by Centreparks. 11 year old Robert from Witham St Hughs Primary School scooped second prize: an all in one printer, scanner and copier donated by Forum Computers in South Hykeham and finally to 11 year old Hannah Churchill also from Bassingham Primary School who won third prize of a family meal deal takeaway donated by Pizza Devil/The Generous Briton public house in Brant Broughton. The winning posters were displayed across the area in post offices, public houses, shops and notice boards etc. The beat team would like to thank all of the people who made this initiative a success.

   

         
   

Photographs of the sponsored cycle ride, poster designs and winner presentation.

[WS Feb 2008]

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Winter Advice

With dark nights now upon us please note the following reminders:- REMEMBER TO SECURE All doors, windows and gate at all times. Always try to leave a visible light on inside and outside your property. Lock all Garages & Sheds making sure all security lighting is correctly set and working.


Remove valuables from your vehicles and from being on show in your properties. Note details of any suspicious vehicles/persons in your area and let us know on the beat team numbers.

Beware of bogus persons making sure identity and relevant appointments are confirmed by the company's number not mobile. Please make sure if children are playing out together that they stay together in groups and always have mobile phones if possible with all the relevant numbers making sure parents know where their children are. 

When children are using their bikes at night please make sure they are visible and they do have lights fitted especially to the rear of the bikes. By taking these steps it will help make sure that our communities remain safe and well throughout the up and coming season.

Summer Advice

During the busy garden and grass-cutting season upon us, it is important to maintain good security of houses, sheds and outbuildings. Don’t make it easy for burglars to help themselves while your back is turned; lock the house if you’re in the back garden! - the sound of a lawnmower is a good give-away. There are periodic thefts in the community recently from local outbuildings, notably of equestrian equipment. The police urge residents to make sure that all outbuildings are secure.

Make sure that sheds, garages and the like are secure, especially when the dark evenings start early.

Around the Christmas period can be a time of rich pickings for the petty burglar. Check that your home is as burglar-proof as you can make it. We can all help too if we keep an eye out for any individuals and vehicles acting furtively. Note down details of anything suspicious and report it immediately to the Police. 

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Security Lighting .. [can be a useful means of crime prevention but..]

High-power security lighting is usually aimed outwards from the building concerned. However, if not directed carefully, it can cause problems to other people, either to neighbours by beaming blindingly bright light into their home or garden, or by causing problems for road users, where the such lights can cause confusion with lights from oncoming vehicles. You are asked to ensure that your security lighting is neither a nuisance nor a danger to others. [WS Oct 2001]

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Doorstep Crime

What is Doorstep Crime?

Doorstep crime includes offences committed by bogus callers and unscrupulous traders. It is where someone comes to the door and tricks the householder into letting them in so that they can steal or otherwise persuade the householder to hand over money.  They may pose as officials - water, gas, electricity, or try to sell something, or seek payment for doing a job (garden/resurface the drive/roof).  It also includes people who persuade householders to part with money for goods and services that they never see or charge extortionate amounts for shoddy goods or services.

How widespread is it?

According to official figures, 19,000 offences of distraction burglary against older people were reported in a single year.  But the real figure is much higher.  This is because the majority of people do not report incidents, others do not even notice valuables are missing and in many cases, offences are wrongly classified in official figures.  A Help the Aged survey in 2002 put the number of people targeted by bogus callers in the previous 12 months as high as 300,000.

No figures exist for all doorstep crimes however a recent Trading Standards national survey reported that up to 20% of householders have had a recent 'bad experience' with doorstep cold callers.  Very few of these reported the incident to 'the authorities'.

In most types of crime, older people are less often the target than younger ones.  But when it comes to distraction burglary the trend is reversed and the average age of victims is 81.  However, people of all ages fall victim of doorstep crime.

 

Distraction burglary

This is a term used to describe a situation where one offender distracts the householder while the other sneaks in to steal.  Offenders will invariably work in pairs although householders will usually only see one person.  There are a variety of approaches which can be made including persuading the householder to come out of the house (e.g. come and look at the loose tiles on the roof) to an activity within the house where the householders is taken for example into an annexe room and distracted by completing a survey, turning on water taps or other forms of distraction.  

Bogus official
Posing as an official is one of the most common tactics used by offenders.  They will often "look the part" and carry fake IDs.  ID cards may even include contact telephone numbers but these may well be an accomplice's mobile phone number who is sat in a van around the corner.  Bogus officials use a wide variety of plausible explanations as to why they need to enter the house but often this will involve a safety issue or something very fundamental such as cutting off the water supply.  'Callers' could include council, police, utilities, census, social services, etc.   
 

Doorstep callers gathering information

There are a wide variety of people who cold call at doors and in doing so, have the ability to gather information about householders such as:-

whether the house is occupied
the age of the householder
whether they have a dog
whether they use door security measures (door bars etc)
whether they ask for and attempt to verify IDs
general impression of property inside the house
to start sowing the seed in the householders mind that some work is required at the house (a softening up process)

This information can be valuable to criminals.

 

Bogus Property Repair Callers

These are callers offering to repair or do work to the property e.g. roof repairers, tarmac drives, gardeners.  This group are perhaps the most problematic as they

prey on the older/vulnerable
involve large amounts of money
include a significant criminal element

Work is usually shoddy, overpriced and often unfinished.  Various tactics are used including quoting a small price and then demanding large amounts when finished and taking deposits and then disappearing.

These criminals will often use fear as a way of persuading the householder to have the work done - fear that if they don't, the house will be in danger of major damage.  This is particularly persuasive to older people who can't check themselves and whose home is their security and independence.

One of the most important elements of this type of offence is the fact that victims keep cash in the house.  Offenders will not accept credit cards and cheques - they are after cash.  Many older people do keep cash in the house, often very significant amounts, and hiding places tend to be unimaginative and as such, fairly obvious to criminals.  Places such as under the mattress, in a locked bedroom drawer, cupboard or wardrobe (often in a biscuit tin, chocolate box or local container are favourites).  If the offenders cannot easily locate the money during the search of the premises, they will often trick the householder into inadvertently revealing its location.  For example, asking to see their pension book (to obtain a price discount) and then seeing where they went to get it from (it will invariably be kept safely with cash and other valuables).

Once an offender ascertains that a person does keep cash in the house then "they will be back".  It is important therefore never to pay cash on the doorstep as this gives a clear message that cash is kept in the house.

Used fear of losing house (will lose roof if not done)

One of the reasons that bogus property repair callers are so successful is the fear by many (particularly older people) of losing there home (and hence their security) if its not maintained properly.  Most people (but particularly older people) will not know the technicalities of roof repairs or other building work and will often have little idea about the price of jobs or their importance.

 

Doorstep security - Don't become a victim

Security devices like door chains and bars give the person answering the door more time to think, and deter bogus callers form entering the property.

Genuine callers will carry an identification card.  They will be happy to wait while their validity is checked.  Many organisations have password schemes and free phone numbers to call specifically for checking the identity of their representatives.  

But remember - when possible call the number advertised in a phone book or on a recent bill - the number given by the caller may be false.

Look through the spy-hole, if there is one, or a window to see who the caller is before answering the door.

Tell relatives, friends and neighbours to close, lock and remove the key from the back door before opening the front door.

Put on the doorchain or bar before opening the door.  Always ask for proof of ID, take it and read it carefully.  Genuine representatives will be happy to wait on the doorstep.

Suggest that friends, relatives and family arrange appointments for people to call when they have someone with them at home.  You can also ask for a letter confirming an appointment to be sent - keep this by the phone to double check the identity of the caller.

Key Messages

NEVER BUY FROM UNINVITED DOORSTEP CALLERS 

ALWAYS USE YOUR DOORCHAIN

NEVER LEAVE LARGE AMOUNTS OF CASH IN YOUR HOME

 

Your rights when buying from the door

When faced with a doorstep seller, it is best to know your rights and the protection afforded to you under the various consumer laws.  Please find a list of your rights below:

If the goods or services you buy cost more than £35, and you did not invite the seller to call at your house, then you generally have seven days to change your mind and cancel the contract.  Responding to an advertisement in the paper or a leaflet dropped through your door counts as inviting the seller to call. 

If you agree to a visit after the seller rings you up or sends someone round to ask if he or she can visit, you still have the right to cancel within seven days. 
By law, the seller must give you written details of your right to cancel (but, there are exceptions to this rule). 

Failure to do this is a criminal offence, and the contract cannot be enforced against you. 

The details of the right to cancel may be set out in the contract, or you may be given a separate form. 

If you cancel the contract, you can get back any money you have paid.  If you have already received certain goods (e.g. perishables) or if certain services have been carried out (e.g. some home improvements), then you will have to pay for these, despite having cancelled the contract. 

If you cancel the contract, and goods have already been supplied to you, you must let the seller collect them and look after them in the meantime. 

If you contact a company yourself, you have no legal right to change your mind and cancel the contract once you've agreed to buy.  There are two exceptions: firstly, if the contract says so; secondly, if you bought the goods or service on credit when you will generally have a five day cancellation period. 

[WS Dec 2006]

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Top Tips For Keeping Yourself And Your Property Safe
 

Staying safe at home
• Make sure your house or flat is secure. Always secure outside doors. Fit barrel locks top and bottom. If you have to use a key, keep it in a safe place away from the door where you can find it quickly in an emergency – you may need to use the door in the event of fire.
• If other people such as previous tenants could still have keys that fit, change the locks. Don’t give keys to workmen or tradesmen, as they can easily make copies.
• If you wake to hear the sound of an intruder, only you can decide how best to handle the situation. You may want to lie quietly to avoid attracting attention to yourself, in the hope that they will leave. Or you may feel more confident if you switch on the lights and make a lot of noise by moving about. Even if you’re on your own, call out loudly to an imaginary companion – most burglars will flee empty-handed rather than risking a confrontation. Ring the police as soon as it’s safe for you to do so. A telephone extension in your bedroom will make you feel more secure as it allows you to call the police immediately, without alerting the intruder.
• Draw your curtains after dark, and if you think there is a prowler outside – dial 999
• Use only your surname and initials in the telephone directory and on the doorplate. That way a stranger won’t know if a man or a woman lives there.
• If you see signs of a break-in at your home, like a smashed window or open door, don’t go in. Go to a neighbour and call the police.
• When you answer the phone, simply say ‘hello’; don’t give your number. If the caller claims to have a wrong number, ask him or her to repeat the number required. Never reveal any information about yourself to a stranger and never say you are alone in the house.

Staying safe when you’re out and about
• If you often walk home in the dark, get a personal attack alarm from a DIY store or ask your local crime prevention officer where you can buy one. Carry it in your hand so you can use it immediately to scare off an attacker. Make sure it is designed to continue sounding if it’s dropped or falls to the ground.
• Carry your bag close to you with the clasp facing inwards. Carry your house keys in your pocket. If someone grabs your bag, let it go. If you hang on, you could get hurt. Remember your safety is more important than your property.
• If you think someone is following you, check by crossing the street – more than once if necessary – to see if he follows. If you are still worried, get to the nearest place where there are other people – a pub or anywhere with a lot of lights on – and call the police. Avoid using an enclosed phonebox in the street, as the attacker could trap you inside.
• If you regularly go jogging or cycling, try to vary your route and time. Stick to well-lit roads with pavements. On commons and parklands, keep to main paths and open spaces where you can see and be seen by other people – avoid wooded areas. If you wear a personal stereo, remember you can’t hear traffic, or somebody approaching behind you.
• Don’t take short-cuts through dark alleys, parks or across waste ground. Walk facing the traffic so a car cannot pull up behind you unnoticed.
• If a car stops and you are threatened, scream and shout, and set off your personal attack alarm if you have one. Get away as quickly as you can. This will gain you vital seconds and make it more difficult for the car driver to follow. If you can, make a mental note of the number and description of the car. Write down details as soon as possible afterwards.
• Self-defence and safety awareness classes may help you feel more secure. Ask your local police or your work if they have classes.

When driving
• Before a long trip, make sure your vehicle is in good condition.
• Plan how to get to your destination before leaving, and stay on main roads if you can.
• Make sure you have enough money and petrol. Carry a spare petrol can.
• Keep change and a phone card in case you need to make a telephone call. Carry a torch.
• Before you leave, tell anyone you are planning to meet what time you think you will get there, and the route you are taking.
• Keep doors locked when driving and keep any bag, carphone or valuables out of sight. If you have the window open, only wind it down a little. Don’t wind it down far enough to allow someone to reach in while you are stopped in traffic.
• After dark, park in a well-lit, busy place. Look around before you get out. If you’re parking in daylight, but coming back for your car at night, think about how things will look in the dark.
• Have your key ready when you go back to your car.
•  If your car develops problems, find a telephone. On motorways follow the marker arrows to the closest phone. They are never placed any more than a mile apart, on opposite sides of the motorway. Never cross the carriageway to use a phone.
• While on the hard shoulder or telephoning, keep a sharp look-out and don’t accept lifts from strangers – wait for the police or breakdown service. Don’t wait in the car – there is a high risk of an accident. Wait on the embankment nearby with the front passenger door open. If someone approaches you or you feel threatened, lock yourself in the car and speak to them through a small gap in the window.
• Please check your headlights – you can do this by shining them on wall or get someone to assist you – the community panel stated that they have seen a lot of one eye cars at the moment!!

[WS January 2008]

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Witham Staple Web Editor can be contacted by e-mail: info@withamstaple.com