'Beware of car park crooks'
PUBLISHED: 19:21 15 January 2016 | UPDATED: 11:01 18 January 2016
A victim of theft is warning car park users to be on alert after opportunist criminals stole his wallet and caused £500 of damage to his BMW.
Bobby Marshall left his vehicle in Peak Hill car park while he went for an early morning jog on Saturday.
Mr Marshall had hidden his wallet under his seat before he pulled into the car park to start his four-mile run.
The 33-year-old said he was surprised to find two men sitting in a parked vehicle, with the window steamed up, as he pulled in at 8.10am.
On his return, he found a crowd gathered around his car. His window had been smashed and his wallet, containing his ID, credit cards and £100 of cash, was gone.
Mr Marshall said: “I was walking towards the car and thought ‘What are you doing? Why are you standing around it?’. I got back about 9am and the members of public said they had called the police and that they had been with the vehicle about 30 minutes waiting for me.
“I couldn’t believe it had happened to me. I have parked in that car park hundreds of times. I was in the wrong place at the right time.”
The director at Harrison Lavers & Potbury’s said he spent three-and-a-half hours in the cold talking to insurers and the police before his car was taken away for repair.
Mr Marshall, of High Street, Sidford, said: “I know it was slightly suspicious, but I didn’t look at the make of the car, the colour or the registration. It’s [the car park] an easy target, there is no CCTV, it’s an isolated area and there’s hardly a mobile signal so I couldn’t even ring anybody. It’s easy to think it’s sleepy Sidmouth, it won’t happen to me. If people stay alert these people do not have a chance.”
PCSO Phil Thomas assured residents that the neighbourhood policing team regularly patrol all of the area’s car parks and that signs had been put up advising drivers to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.
Call police with information on 101, reference number: 001964-16.