Neighbours are on red alert after one of them spotted a man trying to open car doors along their street overnight.

Ross Molyneux, 35, of The Bramblings in Chingford, called police when he was woken up at about 3.40am today by the sound of someone trudging along the snowy pavement.

He looked outside and saw a man checking to see if anyone had left their car doors open.

He said: “I was surprised but there’s a lot of burglaries round this area so I thought I have to warn everyone to keep their eyes open.

“This guy actually got into my neighbour’s car but we checked and nothing was taken.

“It was really late at night and freezing cold so he must have been pretty desperate.”

The police arrived shortly after they were called but the man was no longer on the road.

Officers found a man in nearby Waterhall Road but found no stolen possessions on him.

No arrests were made.

It comes after a recent spike in car crime offences.

A BMW was stolen from outside the owner’s house in Forest View, Chingford, in early December.

The number of such crimes jumped from 12 in September to 49 across October and November in Chingford Green ward alone, compared to a borough average of 16.

Records show 17 motor vehicle crimes – including thefts from and of vehicles - were committed in October, with a further 32 offences occurring in November.

Police were criticised after closing an investigation into a man’s stolen car on the same day as the theft occurred in December.

They said no witnesses, CCTV or forensic evidence had come to light to help them track the car.