POLICE have issued a warning after six cars have been reported stolen in one morning because their owners left them unattended with the engine running.

South Yorkshire Police says drivers hit by frosty weather have been leaving their keys in their cars and their engines running to warm them up before starting their journey - but it leaves the car wide open for opportunistic thieves.

Spokesman Inspector Craig Clifton from South Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Group said there had been six instances this morning alone. He added: “It may be tempting to leave your vehicle unattended allowing it to defrost before starting your journey but this makes the car vulnerable to being stolen, particularly with exhaust fumes coming from standing vehicles in the cold weather making these vehicles more identifiable.

“You don’t only run the risk of your vehicle being stolen but you may also lose the right to make an insurance claim because leaving the keys in the ignition could invalidate your insurance.

“Plan your journey with extra time to defrost your vehicle without leaving it unattended.”