An alarming spike in the number of trailers stolen in the Central District, including Horowhenua, has prompted police to implement a new project in conjunction with the Motor Trade Association (MTA).

In 2017 nearly 200 trailers were stolen in the area, which covers Taranaki, Whanganui, Ruapehu, the wider Manawatū and Horowhenua, with only a third recovered.

The new project will mean that when a trailer is taken to an MTA member for a Warrant of Fitness, the owner will be provided with advice to prevent its theft, and will also have the opportunity to have the registration number welded on to the drawbar of the trailer.

When police locate a trailer, or stop a vehicle towing one, this will enable them to identify it quickly and easily.

If they can see an attempt has been made to remove a welded number, they can then make further inquiries about a trailer's ownership.

Participating trailers will also be marked, to make it obvious to would-be thieves that they have a welded number, in an attempt to deter theft.

Police say one of the key drivers behind the number of thefts is that trailers are often left insecure.

"Many people see a trailer as a 'tool' and leave it on their front lawn or up the driveway unlocked and with no security on it," said Inspector Mark Harrison.

"Trailers are easily 'rebirthed' when they are taken. A new registration plate and a coat of paint, and it is very difficult for us to identify them when we do locate them."

MTA's repair sector manager Graeme Swan said the organisation's members were excited to be involved in the project.

"Our members are an integral part of their local community and this is a way for us to help people safeguard their property," he said.

For more information and listings of local MTA members visit www.mta.org.nz

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