More people had a car stolen in Devon and Cornwall this year than a year ago, new figures show.

A motoring group has called the rise in vehicle crimes "worrying for everyone".

New figures from the Home Office show Devon and Cornwall Police recorded 1,487 crimes of 'theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle' in the year to June – up 40% from 1,060 thefts the year before.

This was also a rise from the same period five years ago, when 1,110 such crimes were registered in the area.

The AA said the jump in car thefts is a cause for concern.

Gus Park, managing director for AA insurance services, said: "These figures are in danger of getting out of control, which if left to spiral further will have big cost implications in terms of the impact to wider society – let alone the price policy holders pay.

"We urge police chiefs and crime commissioners across the country to create an action plan to crack the case."

Mr Park further suggested drivers should avoid "giving miscreants an easy win", advising them to use steering wheel locks and parking in a garage when possible.

Across England and Wales there were 132,000 vehicle thefts in the year to June – up 13% from 116,000 the year before.

The charge rate remains low for car thefts – with 9% of crimes in Devon and Cornwall resulting in a charge in the past year.

Meanwhile, 63% of cases were closed without the force identifying a suspect.

Superintendent Matthew Moscrop – part of the National Police Chiefs’ Council team on vehicle theft – said police chiefs are working to clamp down on the sale of technology used to break into vehicles, and to close routes for selling them once they are stolen.

He said: "Intelligence suggests a large proportion of vehicle theft can be attributed to organised crime groups and there have been a number of successful operations around the country which have led to the discovery of not only stolen vehicles but also ammunition and drugs."

"Tackling vehicle crime needs approaching from several different angles, and we can only achieve this through working closely with our partners in both Government and industry," he added.