GREATER Manchester Police (GMP) seized £500m in drugs, recovered £6.6m worth of stolen vehicles and found £700,000 in cash in a year as the force cracks down on organised vehicle crime.

Figures revealed by RAC Insurance found that amount of vehicles stolen in Greater Manchester more than doubled from 3,018 in 2014/15 to 6,223 in 2018/19.

And GMP has been tackling the problem face on and recovered 306 stolen vehicles from May 2019 to May this year along with £500m of drugs and £700,000 of money found in that time.

Superintendent John-Paul Ruffle said: “We recognise the impact vehicle theft can have on victims and their families, and I would like to reassure residents that we are actively pursuing offenders.

“We have a dedicated operation focussed on targeting organised vehicle crime, as well as cross border operations with neighbouring forces.

“In the Tactical Vehicle Intercept Unit, there have been 306 stolen vehicles recovered, which equate to a total value of approximately £6.6m from May 2019, to May this year.

"In the same time frame, the Interception Unit has also recovered over £700,000, and seized over £500m worth of drugs."

Police are also urging residents to be vigilant of thieves using new methods to get into their vehicles.

Superintendent John-Paul Ruffle said: “While there are still a large volume of opportunist thieves, there has been significant advances in technology, with keyless entry for example being a way thieves can access vehicles.

“We continue to monitor the number of burglaries across Greater Manchester and gather information to adapt our strategy to reduce the number of thefts, but I would also like to encourage residents to do their part in helping keep their possessions safe.

“Keeping vehicles locked at all times, considering where vehicles are parked, keeping keys safe and using a steering wheel lock can all help reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

“It is essential everyone remains vigilant, both day and night. If we can all be more pro-active in following our advice, thefts should begin to fall.”

“We want to urge people to always report anything suspicious and if they have any concerns then please get in touch by calling 101 or via LiveChat on our website. Always dial 999 in an emergency.”

GMP has issued the following pieces of advice to minimise the threat of a vehicle being taken:

• Keep keys out of sight, especially away from doors and windows – some offenders are using the hook and cane method to fish for keys.

• Double check that your car is locked when leaving it, don’t just rely on the fob as signals can be blocked, preventing vehicles locking.

• Invest in a faraday bag – they are lined with metal material and could help block the key’s signal.

• Don’t leave any valuables on display in your car, even loose change can attract attention.

• Invest in a tracking device – it won’t stop the vehicle being stolen, but it can significantly increase the chances of police locating and returning a vehicle to the rightful owner.

• Fitting a steering wheel lock can reduce opportunities for theft. They are a visual deterrent and can slow an offender down.

• Car theft typically occurs in residential areas during the night – talking to your neighbours can help the community be alert to anyone behaving suspiciously.

• Stay vigilant. If you notice anything unusual in your community, report it to the police via the LiveChat facility of the GMP website or call 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.