Car crime in Oxfordshire has dropped by 6.6 per cent in the first six months of a Thames Valley Police campaign.

There were 403 fewer car crimes in the county between October 2000 and March this year compared with the same period 12 months earlier.

Theft of vehicles has fallen by 15.4 per cent to 1,299 and theft from vehicles has fallen by 2.7 per cent to 2,653, according to police figures released yesterday.

However, there was a sharp increase in the number of laptop computers stolen from vehicles.

The Thames Valley Police Just A Minute Campaign has focused on the role everyone has to play in cutting car crime, urging the public to take steps to secure their vehicles.

This includes removing all items of value from your car, parking in a safe place and making sure you lock your door and close all the windows - even if you are only popping off for a minute to pay for petrol or to go to a ticket machine.

Sgt Ian Holt, who heads Thames Valley's Crime Reduction team,said: "The results are encouraging but there are still areas which need more work. Though the amount of car radios stolen has dropped by 17 per cent, the amount of laptops stolen has risen by 28 per cent.

"We would urge people to take their laptops with them because anyone who has lost their laptop will know it is not just the cost of the computer but all the vital business information it contains."