A dozen vehicles have been stolen around Southland over the past three weeks and police are urging drivers to protect themselves from theft.

All but two of the vehicles were recovered with many of them being dumped. Police think it's possible that just one group is responsible for the opportunistic thefts.

Invercargill city areas such as Heidelburg, Georgetown, Newfield and Windsor have been targeted. Invercargill Police are currently investigating.

Police have increased patrols in the areas where the cars have been taken from and the recovered vehicles are being forensically examined.

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Police want to remind people to lock their vehicles and leave the keys in a safe and secure area.

Police have also noticed an increase in burglaries where offenders have entered yards, particularly around the Tay St area. The thieves have targeted garden furniture, unsecured garages and bicycles.

Police are asking the public to secure items of value within their yards and to report any suspicious behaviour, especially people hanging around vehicles after dark.

Contact Invercargill Police on 03 211 0400 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you have any information.