POLICE in South Gloucestershire want motorists to help them track down stolen car number plates.

Avon and Somerset officers are appealing to the public be vigilant as part of a crack down on thieves who steal genuine number plates and use them to hide their identity.

Community Safety Inspector Gerry Treacy said anyone in the district who finds an abandoned number plate is asked to call police immediately.

"Thieves steal the number plates of law-abiding motorists and use them to try to avoid detection when committing other crimes,” he said. "Since January 1 this year 48 plates have been reported stolen across the Avon and Somerset policing area – eight in South Gloucestershire.”

He added: "It's important to tell us if your number plates are stolen, otherwise if your registration details come up as part of our enquiries into a crime we could be knocking on your door.

"If you come across abandoned number plates, whether they are broken or even if they look like they have fallen off, give us a call on 101. We'll ask for the registration details and when and where you found it."

Neighbourhood teams have been helping motorists in South Gloucestershire prevent this sort of theft by holding special events at supermarkets and DIY stores, swapping standard number plate fittings with security screws.