Police are calling on Land Rover and Range Rover owners in Wharfedale to help them fight back against criminals who steal spare car parts.

The officer in charge of a West Yorkshire-wide crackdown on 4x4 vehicle parts theft is calling on people in the area to share information and take steps to protect their own vehicles.

Chief Inspector Steve Thomas is heading Operation Emporia, set up to combat an emerging issue with Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles being targeted by thieves –particularly for LED headlamps but also doors, mirrors, bonnets, wheel clusters and grilles. Chief Insp Thomas says Wharfedale has not been hard hit but is keen to enlist the help of farmers and other owners of the 4x4 vehicles to deter thieves and halt the trade in stolen parts.

He advises owners to have special bolts fitted which can prevent the theft of doors, mirrors, bonnets, wheel clusters and grilles.

But the operation is also focusing on tackling the theft of LED headlamps fitted to the newer vehicles, and stolen headlamps being fitted to older vehicles.

Chief Insp Thomas said: “As part of the ongoing work under Operation Emporia, owners of 4x4 vehicles who have recently had second-hand LED lights fitted are being urged to contact police with proof of purchase.

“I would urge anyone who has recently had such parts fitted to make contact to advise where these parts were fitted. I would also urge caution for anyone looking to buy second-hand parts.

“If we stop a vehicle and it is suspected that it is fitted with stolen parts then these will be removed and the owner of the vehicle could face prosecution.

“Any owners of these kinds of vehicles looking to buy second-hand parts need to ensure they buy from reputable sellers and know where the parts have come from. What may seem like a bargain at the time may well be too good to be true and could leave you left out in the dark.”

Chief Insp Thomas also called on owners to look into ways of security marking their LED headlamps, making it more difficult for them to be stolen and sold on.

Police are working closely with the car manufacturers.

Anyone with information about this type of crime is urged to call the Operation Emporia team on 101 or pass information anonymously to Crimestoppers on (0800) 555111.