BOLTON had the second highest number of vehicle thefts in Greater Manchester last year, figures show.

Police received reports of 531 stolen vehicles in the borough between January 1 and December 31, 2013.

The police officially recorded 510 of these vehicles as being stolen.

These figures put Bolton behind only south Manchester in terms of the number of crimes on the police’s records and the number of vehicles stolen.

Just behind Bolton was Wigan, where 485 vehicles were stolen.

The Bolton News obtained the statistics from Greater Manchester Police using the Freedom of Information Act.

The vehicles stolen in Bolton included Porsches, BMWs, Land Rovers, Range Rovers and various Audi and Mercedes models.

One victim was Ian Walker, whose Land Rover was stolen on New Year’s Eve.

The incident was part of a succession of Land Rover thefts in Bolton last year.

Mr Walker, company director of Bolton Van Sales Ltd, said: “I’m very surprised that Bolton’s figures are so high — I don’t know why this is.

"I never would have thought that about Bolton, having lived here all my life. I like to think that it’s more secure than other places.

“People need to be extremely vigilant with their vehicles and keep a tracker on them.”

Ch Insp Mark Bell, from Greater Manchester Police’s Bolton division, said: “Over the last few months the teams have had a number of policing operations in place to address this concern.

“This has included joint initiatives with neighbouring divisions to tackle groups that have been stealing vehicles across Bolton and other parts of Greater Manchester.

"Over the coming months we will be carrying out more work to further reduce this area of crime.”

Mr Bell advised motorists to park in secure or well-lit areas, not to leave car keys on view in your home and to remove all valuables before leaving your car.

Vehicle owners can also register their valuables at and security-mark them with their postcode and house number or vehicle registration number.