In the last six months more than nine hundred vans have been broken into across Leicestershire and Rutland and thousands of pounds worth of tools have been stolen.
Leicestershire Police has released these startling figures to warn van owners that they need to remove their tools from their van particularly when it’s parked at night.
Even if the vehicle is locked, some offenders are able to break in with no signs of forced entry – by using devices which override the locking system.
Police have also received reports of windows being smashed and locks being forced.
The force is now encouraging tradespeople to store tools and other equipment in a safe and secure place overnight, and not to leave them inside their vehicle. It has also launched ‘Operation Pioneer’ in response to the increase and neighbourhood officers are working with specialist departments to find and arrest those responsible.
Inspector Simon Preston, the lead for vehicle crime, said:
“We have seen a large number of vans being broken into since May and we do have an operation in place to target and arrest those who are committing these offences. There are many more self-employed people these days who park their vans on their drive at home over night which makes them an easy target for thieves.
“Some hotel car parks are also being targeted and we’re working with hotel managers to give tradespeople crime prevention advice when they book in. I would encourage van owners to take precautions, both at home and when staying overnight in hotels, to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of this type of crime.
“The very best thing you can do to protect yourself is to remove your tools, equipment and other valuables every night. These tools are essential for people to carry out their jobs, and without them their livelihood can be affected. We are urging people to follow our advice to ensure they don’t fall victim to tool theft.”
- Removing all tools from vehicles overnight
- Purchasing a sign advising that no tools are left in your van overnight
- Park your vehicle in a garage if you have one
- Consider alarming the vehicle or fitting an internal security cage
- If you park on a drive, install security lights
- Visibly mark your machinery and tools
- If possible, park your vehicle close to a wall so that the doors cannot be opened
- Reporting any suspicious activity to us immediately on 101
For more information on how to protect your vehicle and property from thieves please see the Force website: https://leics.police.uk/vehicle-crime