Police warn van owners in the Uckfield area

Police are warning local tradespeople and residents following an increase in thefts from vans in the north Wealden area.

Over the last three months (February-April) a total of 17 incidents have been reported in Crowborough, Hadlow Down, Uckfield, Fletching, Nutley, Forest Row, Wadhurst and Heathfield.

In most cases power tools have been stolen, but mobile phones and sat navs have also been taken. The majority of the incidents have happened during the day, with a few taking place overnight.

Sergeant Kara Tombling said: “We are urging van owners to review the security of their vehicles to reduce the risk of them becoming victims of theft. The monetary value of the equipment stolen in these incidents is considerable, but the knock-on effect in terms of reduced earnings, because of the loss of essential tools, can be even greater.

“Always ensure that you leave your vehicle properly locked and protected by a good alarm, even if you are leaving it for a brief amount of time. It is always best to remove tools and other items of property from your van overnight and store them somewhere safe. If this isn’t possible, a lockable cage fitted to the inside of your van can provide an extra layer of security.”

Other simple steps to take are:

Keep your van keys safe while working and never leave them in your van

Security mark all tools and equipment and place a sticker in your van window to say you have done so

Keep a list of your tools and equipment, along with serial numbers and any identifying marks – you can do this for free at http://www.immobilise.com/

Never buy cheap, second hand tools from unknown sources as they may be stolen – if an item being offered seems too good to be true, report it to police via 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101.

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