MORE than 700 cars have been stolen from Keighley and surrounding villages in the past two years – an average of two each day.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show that a total of 724 vehicles were reported stolen to West Yorkshire Police between January 2016 and December 2017.

They are part of a haul of more than 4000 vehicles stolen across Bradford district that include cars, vans, construction equipment, mobility scooters, tractors, caravans and even an armoured vehicle.

The worst-hit local ward was Bingley Rural, losing 156 vehicles, while Craven suffered the least, with 97 thefts.

Other figures were Keighley Central (128), Keighley West (116) Worth Valley (116) and Keighley East (111).

Keighley wards pale in comparison to areas of Bradford like Tong (243 vehicle thefts), Bowling and Barkerend (29) and Eccleshill (178).

John Grogan, Labour MP for Keighley, said the numbers reflected a national increase in vehicles being stolen.

He said: “These figures are worrying but reflect the fact that after years of decline over the last three years car thefts have risen nationally by 30 per cent.

“Local police have advised me that they take this rise seriously but that also drivers themselves should take simple measures to reduce the risk to their vehicles including parking facing the wall at home or in public, turning the car wheels into the kerb and keeping keys and valuables out of sight.

“Professional car thieves are constantly on the look-out for the easy target or weak link.”

Shipley MP Philip Davies, whose ward includes Bingley Rural villages like Denholme, Cullingworth, Wilsden and Harden, said he was shocked by the number of stolen vehicles reported in the past two years.

He said: “Car thefts create misery for the victims, damage the local economy, and make insurance premiums sky high.

“That is why I always argue for more resources for the police and tougher prison sentences.”

Chief Inspector Marc Adams, of Bradford District Police, said vehicle thefts could often be linked to other criminal offences. He said: “Individuals involved in vehicle crime sometimes have links to organised crime groups who operate across more than one force area.” and officers in Bradford work with other forces to target those groups and cause significant disruption to their operations.”