POLICE have issued a warning to van owners after a spate of break-ins across Malvern district.
The raiders have targeted vehicles for the contents – mainly power tools and hand tools.
Police say the thefts are extremely costly to businesses, particularly if they are self-employed.
As well as the cost of the tools and damage, some businesses will also be unable to carry out jobs which will also be financially detrimental.
Officers from Safer Neighbourhood Teams, including Malvern, Kempsey and Alfrick, Pickersleigh and Chase, have urged people to take precautions to prevent themselves becoming victims to the thieves.
Crime prevention tips for van owners
Vans should be locked when left unattended and owners should drive with doors locked in case thieves try to target vehicles when stationary.
When parking overnight, vans should not be left in dark, isolated places and, if possible, should be parked in a way which prevents the back and side doors being accessed.
Van drivers should not talk to others about what they are doing, where they are going or what they are carrying.
Unmarked vehicles should be considered as livery can often give clues as to what kind of tools will be inside.
Phones, satnavs or other equipment should not be left in the cab.
Drivers should keep their keys in a safe place and tools, when not being used, should be kept in a locked store rather than in their vehicle.
Tradespeople should keep a list of tools they have, along with serial numbers and key identifying marks – they can be registered at immobilise.com which will help get them back if they are recovered.
Van safes and storage boxes can add an extra layer of security, as can SmartWater.
Owners should use stickers to tell potential thieves that ‘No valuables are left in the vehicle overnight’ or ‘GPS tracking fitted’.
Anyone with information on the break-ins and thefts from vans should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.