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Former thief helps tackle car crime

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A former thief, who has admitted breaking into more than 100 cars, is helping police fight vehicle crime in the run up to Christmas.

In his 10-year criminal career, James Hazell from Leicester was also involved in burglary and shoplifting. He committed such crimes in order to fund his £50-a-day heroin addiction.

However after serving two prison sentences, the 25-year-old managed to get rid of the drug addiction.

Leicestershire Police has enlisted him to help combat the increase in vehicle crime during the festive season. This would also help reduce car insurance claims.

Motorists are being advised by him on the type of things which attract thieves and the steps drivers can take to avoid falling victim to such crimes.

He said: "I'd go out at night and try car doors and boots. It's hard to believe how many people leave their cars unlocked. I once stole a £700 camera that had been left in the boot of an unlocked car.

"People sometimes leave things like satnavs and the front of radios under seats, but that's the first place I would look."

A video of the 25-year-old, who is nearing the end of his supervision period with the Probation Service, has also been posted on YouTube, giving security tips.

As well as targeting criminals, police said officers will be patrolling local car parks in the run-up to Christmas and maintaining a "high visibility presence".

Inspector Toby Day said: "Unfortunately at this time of year we do tend to see a rise in car crime, especially thefts from vehicles."

© Press Association 2010