A ‘PACK’ of thieves prowled the street targeting unlocked vehicles and cars with high-value goods on show in the early hours of today.

The group raided seven cars, many parked on the driveways of victims’ homes, across the Rodbourne , Pinehurst and Grange Park areas and made off with items including mobile phones, cash and an iPad.

Four of those broken into were reportedly left unlocked, leading police to issue a stark warning to the public to be aware of the threat and remove all valuables from view before locking their cars.

PC Dave Johnson, of the Rodbourne neighbourhood policing team, said it was rare for such a spate of break-ins to take place in one night and it was likely the work of a group rather than one individual.

“We have not had anything like this for at least six to eight months and it is very unusual to have seven vehicle breaks across the sector overnight,” he said.

“Aside from the one in Grange Park they all happened within walking distance and we are linking them as a series at the moment.

“With that many vehicles it would likely be more than one person – perhaps two or three working in a pack.

“Of those they broke into it was mainly by smashing the window to snatch items that were clearly on show – they knew what they were going to get. In one case someone had left their bag on the seat with their phone, house keys and bank card, while another had left their iPad on show.

“They also tried door handles of others to see which were open and, of those, they found four left unlocked. The offenders then rummaged through the glove boxes and compartments to see if they could find anything.

“What has made this more distressing for the victims is these vehicles are often parked right outside their houses as they are sleeping. Many feel insecure in their homes now.

“I would urge people to remove all valuables and double-check their car is locked before going to bed.

“We don’t have a clear indication of who is responsible yet and I would appeal for anyone who knows anything to come forward.”

PC Johnson said officers would step up patrols in the areas the break-ins occurred, including Hunters Grove, Churchward Avenue and Beatrice Street, in Rodbourne, and Brandon Close and Swindon College ’s North Star site.

Anyone with any information about these incidents should contact PC Dave Johnson on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.