Van drivers urged to be cautious after rise in thefts

Tradesmen and van owners across Staffordshire have been urged to remain vigilant after an increase in the number of thefts from vehicles.

Staffordshire Police are reminding van drivers to remove tools and ensure their vehicles are kept safe and secure.

The advice follows several incidents in Cannock, Lichfield and Wombourne where vans were broken into and tools taken.

In Cannock, a white Ford Transit van with an orange roof was reported stolen between 5.30pm on Monday, December 20 and 7.33am on Tuesday, from Hobart Road, Heath Hayes.

Meanwhile, there were two instances in Lichfield, with a white Ford Transit van being broken into and two Dewalt 12V battery drills stolen from Redlock Field between 11.30pm on Monday, December 13, and 6am on Tuesday, December 14.

The other saw a failed attempt to get inside a Fort Transit on the Holiday Inn car park on Wall Island between 4pm on Friday, December 17, and 8am on Saturday, December 18.

Finally, in Wombourne, police were called to reports of a white Ford Transit van with a blue stripe being stolen from a street near Gittens Park between 10.30pm on Monday, December 20, and 6.15am on Tuesday, December 21.

Police are encouraging drivers to park vehicles in a manner that makes rear access difficult and not to store expensive tools in the vehicle overnight if possible.

Inspector Louise Booker, of South Staffordshire Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "When these offences take place it is not only an inconvenience to the owners of these vehicles but it can have a real impact on their livelihoods.

"We are asking van owners to be vigilant and also consider their vehicle’s security to mitigate the chances of them falling victim to crime.

"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.

"It is also best practice to remove tools from vans overnight, but where this is not possible, marking 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."

Officers are currently reviewing CCTV and dashcam footage of the areas at the time of the thefts in Cannock and Wombourne and urge anyone who may have seen what happened to get in touch.

Contact Staffordshire Police on Facebook, Twitter, or call 101, quoting incident number 111 of 21 December.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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