Express & Star

Ford Transit thefts spike in West Midlands leaving owners 'devastated'

Traders preyed on by gangs of criminals are being left 'devastated' by a rising number of van thefts across the county.

Last updated
Figures released by West Midlands Police revealed thieves have stolen 65 of the vans every month this year

More perpetrators operating across the West Midlands are setting their sights on snatching Ford Transit vans than ever before.

Figures released by West Midlands Police revealed thieves have stolen 65 of the vans every month this year, compared to just 47 last year.

The spike in thefts seen over the past three years has been branded an 'epidemic' by carpenter Lee Watts, who is calling for tougher sentences for tool thieves.

The 43-year-old said owners are left devastated when they are targeted, adding : "It's a worry for everyone. You do get up every morning and you walk down the stairs worrying if you van's still there.

"But it's not just happening outside people's homes. It's an epidemic now that's going around the country."

Data disclosed by the freedom of information request showed a total of 1,595 Ford Transit vans were stolen from their owners between 2014 and this August.

Thieves only managed to flee with 16 vans each month in 2014, but this soon increased to 25 van thefts every month the following year.

Mr Watts claimed the rise in criminals stealing the Ford Transit vans could be down to a 'key' widely sold online, which helps perpetrators break into the vehicles.

The Ford Transit van owner added: "There are gangs that are targeting contractors' premises.

"These organised criminals are also targeting hotels because they see the contractors' vans are there [when on an overnight job] and you can't take the tools into the hotels.

"For anyone to be affected by that, it's just horrendous. It is a worry and it's getting out of hand."

Despite the rising number of vehicle thefts, the number of criminals breaking into Ford Transit vans to steal items has dwindled, figures also revealed.

While 183 thefts from the vans were reported to police every month last year, just 140 were noted each month by officers up until this August.

But criminals have managed to carry out a total of 6.601 thefts from Ford Transit vans across the West Midlands over the past three years, the data revealed.

Mr Watts' petition calling on the government to review the growing numbers of tool thefts from vans and hand out harsher penalties has now been supported by more than 6,000 people.

To see it, visit the website.