A DRAMATIC fall in temperatures overnight have led to police issuing a warning to motorist after an unattended car and van were stolen while being left to de-ice.

This morning (Tuesday, November 19) two vehicles at addresses in Eaglescliffe near Stockton were stolen after being left unattended, with the keys in the ignition.

Police investigating the crimes said the first vehicle, an unattended grey Citroen Nemo van was taken at around 7.40am from Myrtle Road.

A white Ford Transit van reportedly pulled up alongside the unattended Citroen before a man, described as a white with dark hair wearing a black coat and tracksuit, got out and into the Citroen and drove off.

The second vehicle, an unattended Toyota C-HR Dynamic was stolen at around 7.50am from Grisedale Crescent and driven off towards Yarm Road.

Inspector Fay Cole of Cleveland Police urged members of the public to remain vigilant and avoid leaving cars and vehicles unattended to prevent 'opportunist thieves'.

She said: "It is important that people remember that opportunist thieves are in operation, they will take advantage of the icy weather, and that it takes just seconds for someone to steal a car.

“Whilst it may be convenient to pop back inside whilst a car is de-icing, this gives thieves the time they need to drive away in your car and it could leave you without valid insurance.

"Please stay with your vehicle whilst de-icing, it does only take a short time and it could stop you becoming a victim of crime.”

A spokesperson for the force said: "Any witnesses who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area around Eaglescliffe or may have seen the stolen vehicles in the area is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101.

"Independent charity Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org."