A pioneering scheme to protect motorists from thieves has helped cut vehicle crime in Hertsmere by almost half.

Figures released from Hertfordshire Police show vehicle crime has dropped to 349 reported incidents from January 1 until November 22 this year, down from 596 last year.

The drop comes after Hertsmere Community Safety Partnership (CSP) launched its PL8 SAF3 campaign in April.

For the past nine months, more than 600 cars have been fitted with free tamper-proof number plate screws at events across Borehamwood, Radlett, Shenley, Potters Bar and Bushey.

Hundreds of motorists have also been offered advice on how to keep their cars and possessions inside them safe.

The partnership described the 44.4 per cent fall as “really encouraging”.

Nick Ablett, Neighbourhood Inspector for Hertsmere, said: “Just taking a few simple steps, such as fitting tamper-proof number plate screws can have a massive impact in reducing crime.

"It’s also important that people are aware of this crime and understand that by reporting suspicious behaviour around vehicles could lead to arrests and convictions.”

Charles Goldstein, chairman of Hertsmere CSP, said the team would not be “resting on its laurels” and that these figures encourage them to redouble their efforts.