Leicestershire Police are reminding van owners to make sure their belongings are secure at all times.
It follows a spate of thefts from vans across the force area where tools have been stolen from vehicles parked at residential addresses. A small number of vans in hotel and store car parks have also been targeted.
In November there were 68 thefts compared to 49 in October, with another 25 during the first two weeks in December.
Van owners should ensure their vehicle is locked at all times, even when leaving it for less than a minute. Where possible park it in a secure garage overnight. If this isn’t possible, park it in a well-lit place or install security lights or visible cameras to deter potential thieves. If you can, park as close to another vehicle or building to prevent access to doors. Security mark all tools and remove them from the vehicle overnight. If this can’t be done, keep them in a lock-up inside the vehicle.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Sinski, from the Force Intelligence Bureau, said: “It takes seconds to steal a vehicle or tools inside which can be worth thousands of pounds. Never leave your keys in the ignition or the doors unlocked while you’re away because replacing these items can be costly and the business lost substantial.
“There are steps van owners can take to help prevent themselves from becoming victims of this crime. We would always advise security marking any tools. If in the unfortunate event they are stolen this will make them much easier to trace. When possible, remove all valuables from your vehicle.
“I’d encourage everyone to follow the tips we’ve outlined above and if they see any suspicious activity, to report it immediately by calling 101 in a non-emergency. Always call 999 in an emergency. To report online go to www.leics.police.uk and choose the Report button on our home page.”