Warning to van owners as thieves 'cut holes in doors and locks' to steal tools

Officers are urging tool van owners in East Staffordshire, Lichfield and South Staffordshire to secure their vehicles and remove valuables after a spate of recent thefts.

Criminals have targeted vans across Staffordshire.
Criminals have targeted vans across Staffordshire.

Criminals are cutting holes in doors and locks, peeling panels back, and damaging rear and side doors in order to access tools which have been stored in vans overnight.

Ford Transits and Vauxhall Vivaros are among the most commonly affected vehicles, where items such as drills, grinders and saws have been stolen.

Five separate incidents were reported in East Staffordshire, Lichfield and South Staffordshire on Tuesday.

Police were first called to a residential address off Weeford Road, Lichfield, at around 12.05am, where a grey Ford Transit van, parked on a driveway, was targeted.

Offenders damaged the passenger side door to enter the van before making off with drills, a grinder, a hedge trimmer, impact drivers and saws, worth around £2,500 in total.

Two similar thefts then took place in Barton-under-Needwood. Officers were called to an address on Park Road where six drill drivers, a hammer drill, a circular saw, jigsaw and an angle grinder were stolen from a Mitsubishi L200 between 10.30pm on Monday and 7.30am on Tuesday. The tools stolen were worth around £1,000 in total.

Officers also attended an address off Oak Road, where tools worth £2,000 were taken from a white Vauxhall Vivaro. Drills, grinders and sanders were stolen from this van between 8pm on Monday and 7.15am on Tuesday.

Police then attended a property off Main Street, Yoxall, where cordless tools, worth £4,000, were stolen from a Nissan Navara between 9pm on Monday and 2pm on Tuesday. Offenders managed to force the rear door of the Navara open before leaving with the cordless tools.

Police were then called to a car park of a business, off Stourbridge Road, Himley, at around 9.15pm on Tuesday, where three offenders emerged from a black Ford Fiesta and drilled a hole in a blue Vauxhall Combo parked nearby before making off.

Officers are continuing to make inquiries in relation to all of the reported thefts and urge anyone who may have seen anything suspicious to contact them.

Chief Inspector Scott Gidman, of the East Staffordshire Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Where possible, lock your van in a secure garage or use a steering lock to deter any opportunists from targeting your vehicle.

“If possible, make sure your van is parked in direct view of CCTV cameras.

“You should attempt to remove tools from vans overnight. An alternative can be to mark them clearly with their name using paint pens and sealing that with a clear lacquer spray.

“I would also suggest using a lockable cabinet, and small cameras can also be installed inside vans.”

For more crime prevention advice, visit the Preventing car and vehicle theft section of the Staffordshire Police website.

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