Stratford Police Sergeant, Richard Thomas, said: “Most of the vehicles that have been targeted have had items left on display such as sat-navs, laptops, iPods and handbags. The main times for these offences are late afternoon, evenings and overnight.”

The police have stepped up patrols in the area since the recent spike in crime, and are offering deterrent stickers at Rother Street station.

These stickers are for members of the public to put on their vans, confirming no valuables or power tools are kept in them overnight.

Sgt Thomas said catalytic converters had also been targeted, mainly on four-wheel drive models.

Widely known by thieves to have high scrap value, some catalytic converters have a coating containing precious metals including platinum.

The police also have Cat marking kits available. These mark the shell of the converter with a unique code so if it is stolen and recovered it is easier to trace back to the owner.

Sgt Thomas urged the public to hide their valuables and report any suspicious activity to the police.

“Take a few simple steps to reduce the possibility of being a victim of vehicle crime by removing any items of value, and ensure that vehicles are left secure,” he said.

Call Stratford Police station on 01789 444500 or call the non-emergency number 101.