The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is urging motorists not to leave their cars unattended while they defrost windscreens in the winter.

Man United hero Paul Scholes had his £30,000 Chevrolet pinched from right under his nose in 2013 when opportunistic ‘ice bandits’ spotted the keys in the ignition and drove away before anyone noticed.

The 4×4 was stolen from Scholes’ Oldham address when he left the engine running before going back inside his home.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said that motorists need to be aware of “ice bandits – offenders who target vehicles left outside houses, early in the morning, with the engine running while the owner returns to the house”.

“Motorists may be tempted to leave their vehicle with the engine running while they go inside to stay in the warm – however, it only takes a few seconds to steal a car when keys have been left in the ignition,” he said.

Insurers warn that leaving your car unattended can invalidate your car insurance, meaning you have very little come back if your car is stolen in this way. Plus, think what your friends and family would say!

The other thing to consider is that leaving your car running and unattended is actually illegal. Although it may seem unlikely there are lots of cases of this happening all across the country.

Recently, the Birmingham Mail reported that a police spokesman for Staffordshire Police warned: “Anyone who needs to defrost their vehicle must ensure they stay with it and don’t leave it unattended with the keys inside.

“Drivers should always be in control of their vehicle when the engine is running, even when they’re loading or unloading shopping or baggage.”

Do’s and Don’ts of defrosting

DON’T leave your car unattended while the engine is running.

DON’T use boiling water to defrost your window.

DO mix two parts rubbing alcohol to one part water for a homemade demisting spray.

DO clear ALL windows of mist, snow and frost – not just the windscreen.

DO keep a scraper and cloth or demisting spray in your car to clear windows on your way home.

DON’T use a credit or debit card to scrape (or at least your current credit or debit card).

DO get your wipers replaced if they are leaving streaks (we can fit these for you).

DO get a winter service check.