A “brilliant” new campaign to fight car crime at Wharfedale beauty spots will be launched in Otley next weekend.
The Rotary Club of Otley Chevin is teaming up with police to greet visitors with crime-prevention cards as they park at local attractions.
The cards, sponsored by the Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer, warn motorists to remove possessions and lock securely – with a reverse notice stating all valuables have been removed from the vehicle.
The move follows a spate of break-ins to cars parked on the Chevin and at Golden Acre Park and Eccup Reservoir in recent months, which prompted police to issue a public warning in November.
Inspector Richard Coldwell, who heads the Aireborough & Wharfedale Neighbourhood Pol-icing Team, said: “We think this is brilliant and we really appreciate this sort of support and involvement. It’s a joined-up, community approach to tackling crime that will hopefully make a difference.
“We’ll do everything we can to support this initiative by the Rotary Club, who are putting the effort in and spending their time voluntarily to perform a civic duty.
“We’ll be there handing these cards out with them because it’s a joint effort, and to deal with this particular problem it’s all about getting the message to people who are coming for a walk.
“The message is: you can’t leave anything in your car or let anyone see you putting something in the boot, or throw a coat over something valuable in the back seat and think it won’t be noticed because there are thieves about who will notice and will break in if they think there’s a reason to.”
The campaign will be launched by the Rotary Club and members of the neighbourhood policing team at lower East Chevin Road car park at 10am a week on Saturday.
For the Rotary Club of Otley Chevin’s environment officer Bryan Kitching, there’s a feeling of deja-vu about the whole project, as he organised something very similar eight years ago.
He said: “The idea is to hand these cards to people as they’re getting out of their cars to warn them that there have been break-ins in the area and remind them to remove any valuables and lock up, with the reverse side of the card stating clearly that all valuables have been removed.
“The police have been very impressed with the idea and are very keen to support it, which is great.”
Mr Kitching added: “We’ll start by handing the cards out at the Chevin’s car parks over a few weekends and then may move about to some other areas which have also been having problems.
“We ran a very similar campaign some years ago, which also had the backing of the Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer.
“Then, like now, there had been a spate of break-ins at local car parks. Hopefully this will help.”