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Drivers warned `keep car keys safe`

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Motorists may be getting some sharp reminders from car insurance companies that leaving their keys lying about might invalidate their policies.

According to a survey, most leave the keys in plain view by the front door despite compelling evidence that they are a prime target for burglars.

This is particularly the case with top marques that have security systems which make them almost impossible to steal without the key.

In fact, many police forces report that drivers themselves are increasingly being targeted and followed home, and the house raided by organised criminal gangs solely for the keys and immobiliser.

But a study among 3,000 adults by carmaker Vauxhall and Bedfordshire Police found that virtually no-one gives any thought to hiding their keys from view.

Said Chief Inspector James Goldsmith: "This confirms our own and national findings that many residents fail to take the basic steps of keeping their car keys out of sight and easy reach.

"A vehicle is often the second biggest expenditure for a household and having a vehicle stolen can cause major disruption, cost, inconvenience and emotional upset to the people concerned."

© Press Association 2009