A driver was given a caution for ‘expressing remorse’ after stealing a car in Pevensey Road, Eastbourne.

It was located a short time later by officers who pursued it to Seven Sisters.

The driver – a 22-year-old local man – expressed remorse and was given a simple caution for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Police are now urging motorists to be vigilant following a spate of thefts of unattended vans over the past few days.

At least five incidents have been reported across the county between 30 January and 12 February.

On each occasion, the vehicle was left temporarily unattended with the keys in the ignition.

Inspector James Scott, of the Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “We appreciate people lead busy lives and it may seem like a good idea to leave your vehicle running while you make a quick stop or a delivery, for example.

“But this can present the chance for opportunist thieves to pounce. In turn, this leads to an increase in reports to police, who are required to investigate each individual incident.

“By taking a few simple measures, these incidents can be avoided.

“Remember to lock your vehicle when it’s unattended and keep the keys safe. Wherever possible, do not leave any items of value in your vehicle when it is unattended. And in particular, do not leave any items of value on display.

“Take precautions, remain vigilant, and if you witness any suspicious activity or a crime in action, report it to us.”

You can find further advice on how to keep your vehicle safe and sound on our crime prevention page here.

The five recently reported incidents are as follows:

  • On 30 January, a white Vauxhall Vivaro Amazon van was stolen from Hampton Place, Brighton. It was later located unattended in Chailey Road, Brighton. A police Dog Unit tracked from the vehicle to a nearby address, where three suspects – two boys aged 16 and 17, and a man aged 22, all from Brighton – were arrested on suspicion of theft of a vehicle. They have been released on conditional bail until 28 February, pending further enquiries.
  • On 4 February, a white Vauxhall Vivaro Hermes van was stolen from Landsowne Place, Hove. It was later found unattended and was recovered from St Michael’s Place, Brighton.
  • On 5 February, a black Vauxhall Vivaro Amazon van was stolen from Richardson Road, Hove. It was found unattended and was recovered from Mortimer Road, Hove, the following day. Enquiries led to the arrest of a 17-year-old boy from Hove, on suspicion of theft of a vehicle. He has been released on conditional bail until 6 March, pending further enquiries.
  • On 9 February, a white Ford Transit van containing a large number of tools was stolen from Boundary Road, Hove. The van is yet to be recovered.
  • On 12 February, a silver Ford Connect was stolen from Pevensey Road, Eastbourne. It was located a short time later by officers who pursued it to Seven Sisters. The driver – a 22-year-old local man – expressed remorse and was given a simple caution for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

It is unknown at this stage if anything was stolen from either of the vehicles.