MOTORISTS have been urged to take extra precautions following a spate of fuel thefts in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire Police have received several reports of thieves drilling the fuel tanks of cars in Norton, Malton and Scarborough to steal fuel.

The thefts follow a flurry of such offences last summer, when thieves particularly targeted French cars including Renaults, Citroens and Peugeots.

While dealing with a fuel leak on a Peugeot 206 in Beverley Road, Norton, at about 3am on Sunday, North Yorkshire Fire Service noticed a small drilled hole in the tank and alerted police.

A Citroen Saxo parked in Milton Avenue, Malton, was also targeted overnight on Saturday, and police said the incidents follow a spate of similar thefts in the Scarborough area last week.

PC Jane Jones of Malton Police, said: "I am appealing to anyone who saw any suspicious people or vehicles in the area. The thieves will have made a noise and will have needed another vehicle or containers to take the fuel away.

"In particular, I would like to speak to the occupants of a silver car which was seen in Milton Avenue at around 1.10am in the early hours of Sunday. Anyone who can help our investigation is asked to get in touch as soon as possible."

Police said most thefts were again from French-made cars, as the fuel tanks are made of plastic so less dangerous to drill. However all motorists were urged to take action to try and avoid becoming a victim.

Letters have been handed out to residents to encouraging 'defensive parking' close to wall, in a garage if possible, or in a well-lit public area. Drivers are also encouraged to install security lighting where they park and to ensure their vehicle's alarm is activated.

Last July, The Press reported a spate of more than 20 similar incidents in Heworth, Haxby, Acomb, Rawcliffe, Upper Poppleton and New Earswick, and residents have been urged to take action and try to avoid becoming a victim.