A spat of flaming car thefts in recent weeks in Horowhenua have prompted police to issue a warning for car owners to be vigilant at all times and make sure their vehicles are locked and secure.
Three cars stolen at night in the past week alone have been found the next day smouldering wrecks after being set alight, a short distance from where they were originally taken.
Police and Fire and Emergency Services were called to Weraroa Rd in Levin early this morning to find a Holden Commodore well ablaze.
Nearby residents woke to the sound of an explosion shortly after 3am. One woman praised Fire and Emergency for their prompt response. It took half an hour to bring the fire under control.
Just two nights earlier nearby residents on Tiro Tiro Rd near Levin Central School were woken as emergency services were called to a car fire, with a similar small explosion heard.
It took FENZ about 20 minutes to bring the fire under control.
At the weekend a Mazda Demio was found completely burnt out at Gladstone Reserve in Ōhau.
Senior Sergeant Sam Gilpin said there had been an increase in the number of vehicles stolen in Levin, Foxton and Ōtaki areas in recent months.
Sgt Gilpin said prior to the recent offending police had made a number of arrests in relation to car thefts. It was therefore concerning that the offending was continuing, despite those arrests.
"We have made arrests in the last few months and weeks so it is concerning that the offending is continuing," he said.
The message was to keep cars and locked and secure, and to remove anything of value from inside vehicles.
Gilpin said there was a possibility the offenders weren't local.
"We do get a lot of offenders crossing boundaries ... they are not necessarily locals," he said.
The public could play a role in preventing offending and helping to catch those responsible by reporting anything suspicious or sharing information with police.
He urged anyone who saw anything suspicious or with any information to contact Crimestoppers on 105.