Police are urging car owners to take extra care when de-icing cars following the theft of a van yesterday morning.
Drivers are being warned not to leave their cars unattended with keys left inside the vehicle and the engine running.
The advice follows a theft of a van from Tow Law today which was later recovered from Bishop Auckland and two men aged 24 and 25 were arrested.
A spokesperson from Durham Constabulary said: “We would encourage owners not to leave keys in their vehicles, whether it is in order to save a couple of minutes de-icing vehicles or otherwise. The temptation is for motorists to leave their cars unattended with the engines running, making them vulnerable to opportunist thieves.
“It takes two minutes to de-ice your car, but it can take two seconds for a thief to steal it. We are urging the public to take extra care and not give criminals an early Christmas present.
“This may also affect any subsequent insurance claim.”