Christmas shoppers have been warned to remain vigilant in order to avoid unwittingly becoming victims of theft.

The warning from gardaí comes as figures show €400,000 worth of goods were stolen from cars parked at retail centres in 2015.

More than 50 car park thefts took place each month last year, with incidents most common on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

The most commonly stolen items were cash, electronics, tools and handbags, with the average theft worth €600.

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney has also warned festive shoppers to be vigilant of theft while in shops, with more than 100 thefts from customers reported every month.

Sgt Courtney said mobile phones are the most commonly stolen items, while handbags left in trolleys or on buggies are also targetted.

The Garda Analysis Service has also said shoplifting cost retailers €55m at Christmas 2015, and €255m across the year.

The main items stolen from retailers are groceries, alcohol, clothing and cosmetics.

Increase in dangerous driving, speeding

Dangerous driving and speeding offences have increased by a third in the five years from 2010 to 2014, according to new CSO figures.

Most other crime categories have fallen, with those associated with organised crime - such as drugs and weapons offences - dropping by more than 20%.

Homicide and sexual offences also decreased over the period, but there were increases in burglary and theft offences.

However, the figures also show there was no improvement in gardaí's ability to solve crime over the period, with detection rates dropping or remaining static among the 15 most serious crime categories.