Burning issue: residents worried torched cars will lead to bushfires | Interactive map

CRIMINAL ACT: A Mazda ute is seen burning after it was set alight on grassland next to Lone Pine Avenue on Sunday morning. Photo: FACEBOOK
CRIMINAL ACT: A Mazda ute is seen burning after it was set alight on grassland next to Lone Pine Avenue on Sunday morning. Photo: FACEBOOK

With 14 cars and utes stolen and torched in the last four months, residents in Clifton Grove are increasingly worried it will lead to a bushfire.

A Mazda Bravo was the latest vehicle found alight on Sunday morning.

While it was found on Lone Pine Avenue – many others have been left near dense bushland.

Clifton Grove resident Deidre Kinghorn said the weekend’s rain did little to reduce the fire danger around Orange.

Ms Kinghorn said the threat of a car dumped and torched near bushland was a worry for residents.

“The dry and heavy undergrowth can go up really easily and you don’t know how far it will go,” she said.

Ophir resident Learne Spicer said residents maintained a neighbourhood watch group to look after each other and watch for anything suspicious.

Mrs Spicer said a few cars had been abandoned and torched on Ophir Road. 

“Anyone who sees anything should contact the police or the fire brigade,” she said.

Mazda Bravos and Ford Couriers are the two most commonly stolen and torched vehicles in the city.

An NRMA Insurance spokeswoman said while thieves targeted cars in dark and quiet areas they had seen a decline in car theft as newer model vehicles had more sophisticated security.

“Our data shows that older popular cars such as Holden, Ford and Toyota car models continue to be the most common types of cars stolen or broken into, usually because they are easy to find and have little in the way of effective anti-theft security,” NRMA’s spokeswoman said.

Canobolas Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Bruce Grassick said a long-running investigation is continuing.

He said a pattern of thieves targeting Ford Couriers and Mazda Bravos had “been evident since May 27”.

“We believe the majority of matters are linked,” Inspector Grassick said.

Inspector Grassick encouraged owners to ensure their vehicles were secured and all valuables were removed from the car.

“Be mindful of where the vehicle is left unattended,” he said.

“We have had occurrences where keys are left in vehicles, we would caution people very strongly about leaving keys in cars.”

He said additional security measures such as alarms and immobilisers which provided an extra layer of security were worth consideration.

Inspector Grassick said anyone with information could share it anonymously with Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.