MOTORISTS are being urged to keep their car keys well away from their front doors after burglars nabbed a man's brand new car.

The victim's Renault Captur had just 1,500 miles on the clock when crooks broke into his home in Coronation Avenue, Colchester, and took keys which were hanging close to where they had got in.

Police were able to track the £18,000 car far enough to know it was driven towards London but it then went off the grid and could not be traced any further.

The victim raised the issue with Colchester councillor for Berechurch Dave Harris (Lab).

He warned people not to leave their keys where they can be accessed by thieves and advised even storing them in a bedroom rather than on a traditional key rack.

He said: " The victim was a neighbour of mine and he had his key to a brand new car just inside the front door.

"This made it easier for seemingly professional criminal car thieves to get quickly into the front door, take the key - in his case it was a keyless entry car - and drive away in the dead of night whilst owners were asleep.

"My neighbour was very upset at the loss of his car last Saturday, which was a hard earned asset that he now has to replace."

Mr Harris has been informed about other similar raids in the area - which are nicknamed Millennium burglaries.

Along with his colleagues on the council, Mr Harris has helped set up six different Neighbourhood Watch groups in Berechurch.

He urged residents to join an appropriate group to share information about crime and tips to prevent becoming a victim.

Mr Harris added: "The Neighbourhood Watch advice is to keep car keys away from access doors and near where you sleep.

"We have been supporting groups and setting them up for some time.

"I encourage residents to follow security advice to stop these thefts, and to join their group."