'Phantom' car vandal targeting AldershotBy Amy Taylor
February 22, 2013
CALLS to catch a ‘phantom’ vandal who is attacking cars parked in a neighbourhood near Aldershot railway station need to be taken seriously, residents say.
Deep scratches have been appearing regularly on the paintwork of cars parked in Cargate Avenue, a road favoured by London commuters who can enjoy a day’s free parking.
The problem is not a new one, said resident Jonathan Sharpe, who just moved to the road at the beginning of the month, but many people are ‘suffering in silence'.
“I was warned when I moved in that there was a phantom car scratcher. A neighbour warned me while I was out in the street, he came out and said ‘I will pre-warn you, there’s a car scratcher in this street.
“I thanked him and told him I’d let him know if I saw anything – and two weeks later it happened to me.”
His black Renault Megane was scratched during the day on Friday while he was at work at the Home Brew Shop in Blackwater Way.
Another car, a black Nissan, is regularly targeted and is badly damaged, with scratches all over the rear bumper and side doors.
“Until then, I left my car in the street when I went to work. The scratch looked quite fresh.
“I’m too scared to leave it out now, and I’ve stopped walking to work. I actually bring my car to work, even though it's only 10 minutes away, because it's a black car and the scratches stick out like a sore thumb.”
He said of the eight people in his house, three others had also fallen victim to the ‘phantom’ scratcher. One, who has lived there for 12 years, told him that in the past there had been more severe incidents of tyre slashing, and bricks through windows.
The current spate of vandalism took a nastier turn on Tuesday, February 19 however, with nails left under the tyre of a commuter’s car while it was left in the street.
Mr Sharpe said he wanted to encourage other residents to report the vandalism to police, so that the damage was taken seriously. While no one seems to know who was responsible, he thinks the culprit is "someone with a grudge against commuters”.
A spokesman for Hampshire Police said that the car scratching reported in Cargate Avenue was not the most common type of car crime, saying that the biggest problem was opportunist thefts from unlocked cars, and people leaving valuables on display.
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