Tool thieves hit tradesmen

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TRADESMEN are being warned to be vigilant after a spate of tool thefts amounting to £25,198.

North Yorkshire Police said there had been 39 thefts from vehicles in the Selby area, 24 of those from vans containing tools.

Areas hardest hit have been Sherburn in Elmet, South Milford, Monk Fryston, Brayton and Selby where the average value of one item of property stolen was £359.97.

Acting Inspector Michelle Falkingham of Selby police, said: “Tools are extremely valuable assets and their loss can hugely affect a small business.

“We’re asking vehicle owners to follow some simple crime prevention advice.

“It is vitally important that owners remove their tools if their vehicle is going to be left unattended for long periods of time or overnight.

“Place a notice on your vehicle to say that tools are not kept in it overnight.

“Please also remove valuables such as sat-navs and personal possessions. Leaving them on display is like handing an invitation to thieves.

“You can also register your tools with the Immobilise database.

“If you can’t spare the time to do this yourself, attend the roadshow and police volunteers will do it for you.

“All you have to do is supply the police with the details of your property and we will do the rest.”

Power tools were also stolen from the vehicles which were parked on streets or residential driveways.

The local Safer Neighbourhood Team and Selby District Community Safety Partnership will be holding a series of crime prevention road-shows and are urging tradesmen to go along and pick up a crime prevention pack and advice.

The free, crime prevention packs include ultra violet marker pens, signs saying “no tools kept in this vehicle’, details of the Immobilise register and crime prevention advice.

Colin Moreton of Selby District Community Safety Partnership, said: “A few simple steps can help prevent you from becoming a victim of crime.

“We have put together a pack containing everything you need to know and do to help prevent you losing your valuables.

“Lots of expert advice will be available at the road-show. Please come and see us and do your bit to protect your property.”

In addition to the road-shows, police will be visiting builders’ merchants to hand out crime prevention posters.

The initiative forms part of Operation Anzac which was launched earlier this year which also involves Roads Policing Officers who target cross-border criminals who travel from out of the area, the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) team and high-visibility patrols in hot-spot areas.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said that during the recent spate of incidents, 11 vehicles had been left insecure.

The road-shows will be held today at The Three Lakes Business Park, in Selby, 8-10am and on Tuesday November 8 at Selby Business Park, Bawtry Road, Selby from 8-10am.

Future dates will be uploaded to the force website.

The crime prevention advice is:

l Remove tools overnight

l Mark tools with an ultraviolet pen (available at the roadshow)

l Park in well lit areas.

l Park vehicles in a garage or driveway, if you have one.

l Install sensor lights and security cameras.

Remove all valuables, including sat-navs and radios from unattended vehicles.

l Don’t hide valuables from view unless it is impossible to remove them, thieves know the popular hiding places.

l Check all doors are locked and the windows and sunroof are closed.

l Use alarms.

l Check if there are any suspicious people around before leaving a vehicle.

l Use anti-theft devices, such as, steering locks and immobilisers.

To report vehicle crime or suspicious activity contact North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 24 7.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

janet.harrison@jpress.co.uk