A Hatfield 40-year-old has avoided going to straight prison after stealing from vehicles and carrying out fraud.

Magistrates in St Albans ordered Marvin Bacon, of Woods Avenue, Hatfield, to pay £242 in compensation, costs and a victim surcharge after his conviction.

He was also handed an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, after pleading guilty to the offences at a hearing yesterday (Wednesday, September 28).

DI Adam Bridges, of Hertfordshire Constabulary, said he hopes securing the conviction will "provide reassurance" to residents concerned about suspicious behaviour.

DI Bridges said: "I hope that this news provides reassurance to local residents.

"If you spot suspicious behaviour, please report it straight away by calling 999 so that we can take action.

"There are a number of measures you can take to help prevent your vehicle from being targeted.

"First, always get into the habit of locking your vehicle even if you’re only going to be away from it for a moment. Never leave valuables in there and don’t leave any clues behind either – sat nav mounts, suction cup marks and cables can all suggest that there might be something worth stealing inside.

"Try and park in well lit and busy areas too as this increases the chance of a thief being seen meaning they’ll probably stay clear.

"For more advice, visit our website at https://www.herts.police.uk/crimeprevention"

Bacon admitted to five counts of vehicle interference in Crawford Road, Hatfield, which he carried out on Sunday, September 4.

He also stole from two vehicles - one in Richmond Court on Wednesday, September 21, and one in Aldykes on Saturday, September 3.

Bacon additionally pleaded guilty to a fraud charge after he used bank cards stolen from the vehicle in Aldykes.

Officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary arrested Bacon at his Hatfield home on Tuesday, September 27 - one day before the court hearing in St Albans.

A spokesperson for the force said information about vehicle thefts can be reported online (https://www.herts.police.uk/) or by phone on 101.

Anonymous reports can be submitted to the CrimeStoppers charity online (https://crimestoppers-uk.org/) or by phone on 0800 555 111.