Gina Davidson: We need to slam the brakes on car theft

File picture: Paul Parke

File picture: Paul Parke

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THERE are tiny fingerprints on the car door which never wash off, and believe me we’ve tried.

There’s a dent in the back door where I once reversed into a neighbour’s parked car (it was a dark winter’s night, their car was navy, could have happened to anyone).

There are scratches and scrapes which annoy me every time I notice them. Which is not very often.

Inside our beloved Honda is a tip. Old plastic toys from McDonald’s, discarded a few minutes after the novelty has worn off, lie under seats collecting dust and stickiness from shoes and dropped foodstuffs. Pens long past their usefulness clutter up the pockets on the back of the front seats – sharing room with the odd blackened banana peel. Crumbs are in every crack and crevice.

Our car is around 12 years old and is, literally, a bin on four wheels. I’m not proud of this, it’s just how it is. My husband can’t stand it. The rest of us are immune to its stains and odd but familiar scents.

Our car is thief-proof. I can’t imagine any criminal looking to steal a vehicle choosing ours in the line-up of shiny, mechanical loveliness which surrounds us where we live. But I could be wrong.

My neighbour (not the one whose car I ran into) had his Range Rover stolen in January. It was a beautiful piece of machinery.

Worse, the thieves broke into his house, smashing patio doors to gain entry, and ransacking a few rooms before they found the spare keys and took off.

Worse again, my neighbour and his family passed their own car on the road – going in the opposite direction. They missed the thieves by

minutes.

We weren’t in at the time or would have responded to the house alam. No-one saw anything. But as it was reported to the police so soon after being stolen, the car was spotted and chased before it was dumped near Roseburn.

Then last month the same thing happened to a friend who lives in an entirely different part of the Lothians. Her Audi was taken – but only after they broke in through a window to search for the keys. What was more worryingly this time was the fact that she was at home, asleep, and never heard a thing.

Having your home broken into is a horrible intrusion. You feel unsafe in the place where you should be safest. Having your car taken – probably the most expensive thing you’ll buy – is, in the words of a Police Scotland officer, “deeply personal”.

In both cases the police told them that they knew who’d done it. Not joyriders but gangs stealing cars to ship other stolen items abroad, or to sell the expensive cars on.

Makes you wonder if they know who’s behind it why they’re not caught? Or is that too simplistic a view?

Last year the city cops drafted in other experts from around the country because of rising car thefts. Operation RAC was launched after it was revealed Edinburgh suffered the most house break-ins and car thefts per head of population. At one stage four cars were stolen every night, but there were few prosecutions because of the young age of the thieves.

Two car thefts doesn’t a crime spree make, but we’re a year on from Operation RAC, and perhaps these gangs think it’s time to try to their luck again. Maybe we need a repeat operation.

As for my car I think it’s safe – despite my my neighbour telling me the police said that “ordinary cars” are taken too, as they can be “good cover”. Though I might just put a few more dents in it to be on the safe side.

Bridge is history in the making

“YOU’RE seeing history in action here,” my husband said gazing out to the Queensferry Crossing which, to the untrained eye, is nearing completion.

The kids were not impressed. So what if there’s another bridge being built over the Forth? There’s two already.

Then by chance the documentary about the building of the Forth Road Bridge when it celebrated its 50th anniversary was screened again on Tuesday night. The way the men wandered around across steel beams with nothing to hold them should they fall – such daredevilry was impressive.

They were glued to the box, and horrified when the men who worked on the bridge spoke of the seven who lost their lives. They’ll look at the new bridge differently now.

Action is credit to Andrew’s neighbours

THERE is so much tragedy about the death of Andrew Bow, a young man who was discovered dead in his East Crosscauseway flat and about whom little is known.

The one chink of light in this sad story is the fact that for once neighbours did act. They might not have known Andrew, but when the windows of his house were spotted as being broken, the council was informed and the information passed to police.

And again, a few days later, another neighbour called the police to report the windows.

Attending vandalism is not perhaps top of the police list and the council could perhaps have sent someone round to secure the property. But at least, for once, the neighbours didn’t just walk on by.

Place to work off chocolate eggs

EASTER holidays are almost over – only a few broken bits of chocolate are left wrapped inside colourful foil paper. The weather’s been lousy for the most part but we found the perfect place to go in the rain – Foxlake, the wakeboarding centre in East Lothian. Well, if you’re going to get wet, might as well go for it.

Shame the chocolate egg consumption was all too noticeable in a wetsuit.