OWNERS of high-value and high-performance cars in Fife have been told to be wary of an ongoing spate of thefts.

Since May, a total of 16 cars have been stolen from outside properties in the Kingdom.

Police Scotland has revealed that the break-ins and thefts primarily take place in the late evening, or early morning, when the occupants are in bed and there are fewer members of the public in the area.

In some instances entry is forced to the property and the car keys have been taken after the suspects obtained them from near to the front door.

However, there have been a number of incidents where those responsible have used a signal amplifying device that picks up the frequency of the car key from outside the front door, allowing the car to be driven away without the property being accessed.

All of these offences are being investigated as part of Operation Greenbay – the ongoing campaign across the Central Belt, which investigates the theft of motor vehicles during housebreakings.

A total of 119 vehicles have been stolen from Fife, Forth Valley, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian and Dundee since May.

Anyone who witnesses anything suspicious around homes and businesses in their communities should contact police immediately.

In addition, members of the public are asked to consider their own security and take all the necessary precautions to prevent further incidents occurring.

Detective Inspector Karen Muirhead said: “Whenever a housebreaking or vehicle theft occurs, it has a profound impact on the victims and as part of Operation Greenbay we are actively investigating all of these incidents to identify those responsible and reunite stolen cars with their rightful owners.

“Preventing these crimes happening in the first instance is our top priority and the public have a vital role to play in this.

“I would urge all homeowners to consider what their current home security looks like and evaluate if it could be enhanced through the use of measures such as alarms, motion-activated lights and CCTV.

“For those with electric key fobs, please consider buying a faraday box or pouch, which blocks the signal from being detected and amplified to open and start your vehicle. At the very least, please do not leave keys near the door or entryway of your home.

“Following engagement with victims, we have established that many prefer to leave keys and valuables near doors so that in the event their homes are broken into, thieves do not venture further inside the property. In our experience, the likelihood of this occurring is extremely rare, with most criminals seeking an easy and quick grab, rather than having to search the entire house.

“We are treating all of these crimes with the utmost seriousness and would urge anyone with information that can assist our ongoing inquiries to contact police immediately.”

Those with information can contact Police Scotland via 101, or alternatively, make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.