THEFTS shot up by more than 70 per cent at last year’s V Festival.

The Chelmsford spectacular, which brings millions of pounds into the city’s economy, saw the biggest rise in the number of thefts among five of the top festivals in the country.

The number of thefts increased at Hylands Park by 72 per cent when comparing 2010 festival figures to last year.

The increase at V in Staffordshire was 5 per cent and there was a 4 per cent climb at Latitude in Suffolk.

Glastonbury, T in the Park and Reading all recorded a drop in the number of thefts between 2010 and 2011.

Insurance firm Aviva revealed the data after requests for figures to six police forces under the Freedom of Information Act.

Jonathan Cracknell, of Aviva, said: “As with any event with crowds of people, there is a risk of theft, especially when so many of us now carry expensive electronic possessions, such as cameras and smartphones.

“There are also simple steps you can take to protect your belongings. Tents are particularly vulnerable to determined thieves so not leaving expensive gadgets there when you are watching the acts is a good idea, and perhaps just taking one camera to the event if you are in a group of friends.”

Chief Insp Steve Ditchburn, of Essex Police, has been involved in policing the Chelmsford event in recent years.

He said: “We had a big hit last year in relation to thefts from tents.

“There was a jump and it is an organised crime aspect which is something we are looking at.”

He said the red campsite is particularly difficult for officers to police as there are thousands of tents and festival-goers need to use common sense.

“There are thousands of tents, all right next to each other,” he said. “Last year we drowned it with police and it still happened.

“We had someone have a laptop stolen from a tent and you have to ask yourself if it is necessary to have it there.”