Police target tradespeople after spike in thefts of tools from vans

Theft from vehicle (stock image)
Theft from vehicle (stock image)

Tool theft from work vans is a growing national trend and Lincolnshire Police is joining forces with the trade industry to get the message across to the people who could be affected after an alarming number of incidents in the county - including 20 in the last month in North and South Kesteven.

No area is immune but Lincolnshire Police between August 1 to September 12, they received 20 reports of tool theft from tradespeople’s vans in North and South Kesteven and 30 in Lincoln and West Lindsey.

An event will be taking place tomorrow (Wednesday) to flag up the problem with tradespeople, held at Buildbase on Pelham Road, Lincoln between 7am and 9am in order to catch tradespeople as they stock up for the day.

Here police will promote security tips, and products to help protect potential victims against this rising method of theft.

Insp Pat Coates is leading the campaign against theft from vans.

He said: “Insecure vans are being targeted but we are also seeing forced entry in many cases. The event is designed to raise awareness amongst tradespeople, deliver some messages about security precautions and to showcase the products that are on offer to make vans more secure.

“When a crime is affecting the trade community, it is important that we get them involved and we are really grateful for the support of Buildbase who have hosted the event for us.”

Being a victim of theft can have a real and lasting impact and one man who knows this all too well is Christopher Oliver, whose van was broken into on the weekend of September 2/3 on Matlock Drive in North Hykeham.

He said: “I just went out to work on Monday morning as usual but noticed my van door was open. I wondered at first if I left it like that. But then I noticed my tools missing. To be honest I was gutted – it’s my livelihood.

“That Monday and Tuesday were spent reporting it to the police and getting replacements. They were just tools and not in any way sentimental but some I’d had for years and years – since I had been an apprentice. You don’t really expect this to happen to you – I associate it with the bigger cities – so I think any publicity is brilliant. It is really good to see a police force actually trying to do something about it.”

To help people avoid becoming a victim, police will be promoting the following security tips, both at the event on Wednesday and online.

Security tips to help prevent thefts from vans:

Vans are often targeted by thieves for the tools stored inside.

It is often difficult to remove all tools when the van is left overnight, although this is obviously the ideal.

○ Consider fitting a tool safe and secure it with good quality locks.

○ It may sound obvious, but ensure the van is locked and windows shut whenever it is left unattended.

○ Keep all possessions out of sight – don’t leave jackets, sat navs, etc on show.

○ Try to park your van close to a building or hedge to restrict access.

○ Whenever possible park in a lit area that is covered by CCTV.

○ If your van is older, consider fitting new locks that are more difficult to compromise – it is not as expensive as you might think.

○ Fit an alarm. There are various alarms are on the market but recommended products are Thatcham/Secured by Design accredited. However, a small stand alone PIR shed type alarm with texting facility or personal attack alarm when triggered can be very loud, act as a deterrent and let you know that your vehicle has been entered.

○ Mark the items of property/tools that are stored in the van. Ideally mark them overtly with paint pens and then seal down the marking with a clear lacquer spray. Mark property with the name of your company, the postcode, house or building number or name. Items that are overtly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on. www.creproducts.co.uk

○ Take photographs of items of value, make a note of serial numbers and consider registering with the free site www.Immobilise.com

If you see anything suspicious call 101. If you witness a crime in progress call 999.

If you have any information about van crime you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 – no personal details are taken, information cannot be traced and you will not go to court.

For more information contact your local Crime Reduction Tactical Advisor sally.picker@lincs.pnn.police.uk or by telephone 07867936487