Thefts warning to van owners

POLICE are warning owners of Ford Transit and Transit Custom vans to take extra precautions after a spate of thefts targeting them.

Thieves have been forcing the side doors of the vans, after drilling through them to disable locks, and stealing tools from inside.

The extent of the problem was revealed following a report to a meeting of a Community Engagement Forum for the Boyd Valley area, which includes Pucklechurch, in March.

PCSO Bianca Rotariu told the meeting that there had been incidents where vans had been targeted in Downend and Fishponds, which followed previous incidents in Pucklechurch and Wick.

Elsewhere in the Avon & Somerset police area, appeals for information have been made after vans were targeted in South Bristol and Paulton, in North East Somerset.

PCSO Rotariu said the incidents all have the same pattern and police working on several investigations believe the thefts may be linked.

Most have occurred between December and February

The thieves, who have worked out how to force the latch on side doors, usually operate at night.

PCSO Rotariu said: “It’s all very silent, you never have any witnesses, there’s hardly any CCTV available and it’s difficult to find any evidence.

“We’re trying to raise awareness, because it is a lot of money involved.”

As well as removing valuable tools overnight, van owners are also being advised to buy metal latch protectors which can help prevent doors being forced open.

Police are also advising that tools are photographed, marked and serial numbers recorded, and security marked with paint pens and clear lacquer spray with the owner’s name and address so they can be easily returned if they are stolen.