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CCTV shows BMW thieves targeting vehicles in Ashford

By Aidan Barlow

Footage has revealed how two “brazen” thieves turned off a car’s alarm system, broke into the vehicle, and stole a steering wheel and on board computer while it was parked on a driveway.

BMW owners in the Godinton Park area of Ashford reported a spate of similar incidents in just 48 hours this week, and police say similar thefts have happened across Kent.

Among the owners affected was Steve Christopher, whose CCTV cameras recorded the thieves calmly taking apart his car in the early hours of Monday morning.

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Thieves were seen approaching the vehicle.

Thieves were seen approaching the vehicle.

He said: “You work so hard and have a nice car, only for someone to come along and rip it all out. The cost is not just financial, it’s emotional, it is horrific.

“I had everything stolen, I watched two hours of footage of them breaking into the car, and I’ve seen exactly how they have done it.

The thieves covered the lights and squirted expanding foam to stop the alarm.

The thieves covered the lights and squirted expanding foam to stop the alarm.

“It shows how professional they are and how organised this is. They squirted expanding foam into the back of the vehicle to stop noise coming from the alarm and had specially designed bags to cover the warning lights on the wing mirrors.

“They cut all the cables at the front of the car and then proceeded to enter by drilling into the lock. Within 20 minutes they had got everything they wanted.”

Video: The thieves at work

Mr Christopher, who has lived in Godinton Park for 11 years, said similar reports on Monday night could have a knock on effect for residents’ car and home insurance premiums.

He added: “From the footage you see how cool these people are. They are wearing masks and gloves, so this is professional organised crime.

One thief then drilled into the driver's door to unlock the car.

One thief then drilled into the driver's door to unlock the car.

“That’s the scary thing about it, the brazenness. They saw my cameras but they didn’t even flinch. They didn’t really care and look as though they think they are untouchable.”

The police say they are urging BMW owners to be vigilant after the crimes in Sweet Bay Crescent and Spindlewood End.

A picture shows the extent of the damage inside.

A picture shows the extent of the damage inside.

Ashford Community Safety Unit Sgt Jasmine Bloomfield said: “Similar thefts have been reported in north and west Kent and we will be working closely with our colleagues in other areas so that we can identify the culprits as swiftly as possible.

“We also urge car owners in the Godinton Park area, particularly those with BMWs, to park their cars in a well-lit place, on a driveway or in a garage overnight if possible.”

Police have issued descriptions of the two suspects. One is described as being tall and wearing a long coat and baseball cap. The other is described as being shorter and was wearing a beanie hat and a rucksack.

The thief can be seen handing over the steering wheel and other items from inside the car.

The thief can be seen handing over the steering wheel and other items from inside the car.

Officers in west Kent are investigating after four BMWs were broken into in Penenden Heath between the evening of Tuesday, November 21 and the morning of Wednesday, November 22.

Then there were further thefts between Sunday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 5 in the village of Higham.

There were also overnight raids on vehicles in Aylesford overnight betwen Friday, January 12 and Saturday, January 13.

How the inside of a BMW would usually look.

How the inside of a BMW would usually look.

Sgt Bloomfield added: “We would like to hear from anyone who has been offered BMW parts for sale.

“In the meantime we ask residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to call 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the appeal line on 01843 222289 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 and quote crime reference number ZY/6033/18.

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