Motorists returning to unlocked cars to find items missing are discovering their belongings have been removed...by the police.
Officers in Richmond upon Thames in south west London have been taking the items to shock drivers into being more careful about their property.
Police have been removing such items as handbags, laptops and satnavs from unsecured vehicles.
They have been leaving the careless owners a note telling them they can retrieve their items from Twickenham police station.
The initiative has been introduced as Richmond suffers from a high number of thefts from cars.
A Richmond upon Thames council spokesman said today: "We fully support this initiative and we are particularly proud of the relationship we have with the police.
"We do have an issue with theft in the borough and particularly theft from cars.
"We see our borough as a green and pleasant suburban place and this can lull householders and car owners into a false sense of security in that they leave house keys under flowerpots and display items prominently in unlocked cars."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies