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Officers from Staffordshire are urging tool van owners to secure their vehicles and remove valuables after a spate of thefts this week saw tools stolen.

Offenders appear to be cutting holes in doors and locks, peeling panels back and damaging windows, in order to access tools which have been stored in vans overnight.

Ford Transits, Vauxhall Vivaros and Mercedes Vitos are amongst the most commonly affected vehicles – where items such as Dewalt tools, drills, grinders and stereos have been reported stolen.

Fourteen separate incidents were reported in East Staffordshire, Lichfield and Stafford, from Monday (28 February) to Tuesday (1 March), with eight of them taking place at residential locations, five at hotels and one at a business premises.

Two incidents were reported on Tuesday (1 March) at a car park on Lichfield Road, Barton-under-Needwood where tools, including drills, grinders and hedgecutters, were stolen from two Ford Transits between 5.30pm on Monday (28 February) and 7.10am on Tuesday (1 March).

Two incidents were also reported on Tuesday (1 March) at a further car park on Rykneld Street, Lichfield, where a Ford Transit and a Mercedes Vito were broken into.

These offences took place between 5.30pm on Monday (28 February) and 9am on Tuesday (1 March), although nothing was reported stolen.

A Volkswagen van parked at a car park on Second Avenue, Burton, was then targeted.

The rear door had been damaged by the offenders and it is believed the offence took place between 6pm on Monday (28 February) and 9.15am on Tuesday (1 March).

No tools were reported stolen.

Between 3am and 3.30am on Tuesday (1 March), Bosch combi and SDS drills and a Bosch router, worth £400, were stolen from a Vauxhall Vivaro parked at a car park on Shropshire Brook Road, Rugeley.

While at around 3.15am on Tuesday (1 March), a Renault Trafic and a Nissan NV300 were broken into near Lichfield Road, Rugeley.

No items were stolen and the offender was seen wearing a waterproof jacket with their hood up.

Chief Inspector Scott Gidman, of the East Staffordshire Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “These type of offences can have a profound impact on the livelihoods of the victims.

“Van owners should remain vigilant and consider their vehicle’s security to mitigate the chances of them falling victim to such offences.

“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.”