POLICE are warning motorists to beware of the latest crime-wave after a spate of car SNOW-jackings.
Motorists are being targeted by gangs and opportunist thieves as winter conditions make drivers more vulnerable.
In one attack a gang of youths ambushed a stunned by pelting his car with snowballs in Edinburgh.
When he got out to confront the main group – another jumped in the driver’s seat and sped away.
The 24-year-old was driving his silver Ford Focus on Friday in Broughton Road in Edinburgh when the gang struck at around 6:30pm.
The car was recovered around an hour later in Quality Street Lane.
Lothian and Borders Police are continuing their enquiries to find the youth responsible for the theft.
Car thieves are also capitalising on motorists de-icing their cars and leaving keys in the ignition.
A second theft occurred in the Stenhouse area of the city at around 8.45am on Sunday.
A 50-year-old woman was de-icing her Hyundai Getz car in Stenhouse Street West when a man in his twenties wearing tracksuit bottoms jumped into the driver’s seat and sped off from the area.
The car was recovered a short time later in Stenhouse Drive and officers are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the theft to come forward and assist with their enquiries.
A third theft was also reported on Sunday in the South East of Edinburgh around 3pm.
A 62-year-old man was unloading shopping from his Nissan Navara 4×4 and had left the keys in the ignition when a youth stole the car and made off from sight.
The vehicle was found abandoned around 10pm that night in Braids, near the golf course.
Anyone who can help identify the youth responsible or has any other information that can assist officers with their investigation is asked to contact police immediately.
Lothian and Borders Police are warning motorists to remain vigilant following the spate of weather-related thefts.
A police spokesman said: “Thieves will look to capitalise from any opportunity that presents itself and members of the public should do everything they can to avoid being targeted.
“During the cold weather, motorists who are de-icing their vehicles should do so with the ignition off and ensure the keys are safely within their possession.
“Similarly, if at any time it is necessary to exit your vehicle, drivers are reminded to park in an appropriate place, switch their engines off and make sure that doors, windows and boots are securely locked.”