Fewer people had a car stolen in north Wales than in the year before, new figures show – despite a rise in motor thefts across Wales and England.

A motoring group has called the rise in vehicle crimes "worrying for everyone".

New figures from the Home Office show North Wales Police recorded 398 crimes of 'theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle' in the year to June – down nine per cent from 436 thefts the year before.

This was also a fall from the same period five years ago, when 465 such crimes were registered in the area.

It was a different story across England and Wales, where there were 132,000 vehicle thefts in the year to June – up 13 per cent from 116,000 the year before.

The AA said the jump in car thefts is a cause for concern.

Gus Park, managing director for AA insurance services, said: "These figures are in danger of getting out of control, which if left to spiral further will have big cost implications in terms of the impact to wider society – let alone the price policy holders pay.

"We urge police chiefs and crime commissioners across the country to create an action plan to crack the case."

Mr Park further suggested drivers should avoid "giving miscreants an easy win", advising them to use steering wheel locks and parking in a garage when possible.

The charge rate remains low for car thefts – with four per cent of crimes in north Wales resulting in a charge in the past year.

Meanwhile, 48 per cent of cases were closed without the force identifying a suspect.

Supt Matthew Moscrop – part of the National Police Chiefs’ Council team on vehicle theft – said police chiefs are working to clamp down on the sale of technology used to break into vehicles, and to close routes for selling them once they are stolen.

He said: "Intelligence suggests a large proportion of vehicle theft can be attributed to organised crime groups and there have been a number of successful operations around the country which have led to the discovery of not only stolen vehicles but also ammunition and drugs."

"Tackling vehicle crime needs approaching from several different angles, and we can only achieve this through working closely with our partners in both government and industry," he added.