POLICE are warning BMW owners to protect their vehicles against thieves who are targeting the cars for their airbag units.

Officers from the Chingford Green Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) have been tracking down BMW owners to make them aware of the recent thefts.

Two vehicles have had the airbags removed in recent months, but these incidents follow a spate of about seven thefts last year.

BMW owners are now being advised to fit their cars with a steering lock to prevent the thieves from taking the units.

Acting sergeant Darren Brand said: "About this time last year we had several incidences of BMWs being targeted for their airbags.

"We thought it had stopped, but it seems a year on it has raised its head again."

Thieves have been targeting cars in the early hours of the morning and using a specially-designed tool to remove the airbag unit - which is worth hundreds of pounds - from the steering wheel column.

Sgt Brand said: "It is unnusual, I was surprised to discover how valuable these units are.

"I would urge people to be vigilant and to put a steering wheel lock on."

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