Staffordshire Police is warning local van owners to be vigilant after a recent increase in tool theft from vans.
A number of these thefts have left the vehicle with no damage which suggests criminals may be using devices which block the signal from the key fob when it is being locked.
Van owners are being urged to follow these simple steps to prevent them from becoming victims:
- don't assume your vehicle has locked properly using a key fob lock. Criminals can use devices which block the signal. Always check your doors are locked before leaving your vehicle unattended
- if you have a garage, use it. If your van is parked on a driveway, consider installing security lighting. If neither of these apply, try to park in well lit areas
- consider alarming the vehicle or fitting an internal security cage
- when tools and equipment are not being used, ensure they are kept securely in a lockable store rather than in your vehicle
- consider whether the storage area can be alarmed. If the equipment is portable, take it with you
- don't leave tools in vehicles unattended or overnight, and place a sign in the window stating they have been removed
- lock/immobilise vehicles and equipment when not in use
- visibly mark your machinery and tools using an engraving or chemical etching kit or use a forensic marking kit. Place a sticker in your window to say you have done so - the signage alone, can be a very effective deterrent. For more information on forensic marking please visit www.staffordshire.police.uk/
- keep a list of tools, together with serial numbers and any identifying marks. You can do this at http://www.immobilise.com/. This will help to trace them back to you if they are recovered
- consider the use of security patrols around building sites
- keep the access to building sites secure - fences and gates help prevent unauthorised entry
- if you have any suspicious visitors on your site please call Staffordshire Police on 101
Chief Inspector Amanda Davies said:
"Tools are extremely valuable possessions and, when stolen, can impact hugely on small businesses. Staffordshire Police would like to remind all van owners to remove their tools from the vehicle when it is left unattended for long periods of time and overnight.
"We rely on information from members of the public in order to crack down effectively on this type of crime. If anyone is offered tools for sale in suspicious circumstances they should contact the police on 101. Alternatively, they can call independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111."