80s revival for car badge theft

IT’S a crime spree more likely to have been seen in the 1980s fuelled by fans of US rappers the Beastie Boys emulating their heroes.

But the theft of vehicle badges now appears to be making a comeback in the Capital and this time it’s not limited to Volkswagens.

Eight badges were prised off cars in two streets in Broughton, with a BMW 528, an Audi A6 and a Renault Megane among the targets.

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But a whiff of nostalgia was still present with the owner of a Volkswagen Polo waking up to find their logo taken by thieves.

The string of thefts follows a similar spate in the west of Edinburgh when 13 cars had their badges ripped off.

The thefts in the Firrhill and Colinton Mains areas saw a BMW, a Fiat Stilo and a Nissan Note among the eclectic targets along with another Polo.

Police today said they were keeping an “open mind” over whether the badges were being stolen as part of a new teen fad as they appealed for any other victims to come forward.

Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ Motoring Trust, said: “This sounds like kids going out badge-collecting. I’m not aware of it happening anywhere else so perhaps Edinburgh has just been unlucky.

“Back when this was a craze in the 1980s with the Beastie Boys, kids would wear them around their necks so stealing them was literally a badge of honour. I’m not aware of any fashion for doing that now so it would seem to be just collecting.

“In Edinburgh motorists often don’t have much choice but to park on-street if they don’t have a garage or driveway, and that can leave their vehicles out of sight and vulnerable. People should try to take basic security precautions like trying to park in well-lit areas.

“But if a gang of kids decide to do this badge-collecting it’s a difficult thing to stop.”

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Police have appealed for parents to keep an eye out for car badges which may have been taken by their children turning up around their homes, urging them to contact police if any are found.

The latest thefts took place overnight between last Saturday and Sunday when five cars in Bellevue Road and three in adjoining McDonald Road had badges stolen. An Alfa Romeo, a Ford Ka, a Suzuki Swift and an Audi A4 were also hit.

Resident Margaret Cormack, 68, a retired book-keeper who lives on Bellevue Road, said her neighbour’s Volkswagen Polo was among the vandalised vehicles.

She said: “My neighbour had the badge on her car pulled off but I’ve not spoken to her about it yet.

“It’s a very quiet street here but we do get kids cutting through as a short-cut to Leith.

“I’ve only got an old Mazda Demio so I’m not sure why they would want my badge.”

Officers have condemned the recent badge thefts for causing “great irritation and inconvenience” beyond the “purely aesthetic damage”.

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A police spokesman said: “Not all of the owners have reported these incidents to the police, and we would urge them to contact us if they find that their vehicle has been vandalised.

“We are appealing to anyone who witnessed any of these vandalisms to contact police, and we would also urge anyone else with information that can help us trace whoever is responsible for these attacks to get in touch.”