Melton plasterer suffers £3,000 tools raid on his van

Melton plasterer Stephen Foote, who had tools valued at up to �3,000 stolen from his vehicle - part of a spate of such thefts in the area EMN-171107-133819001
Melton plasterer Stephen Foote, who had tools valued at up to �3,000 stolen from his vehicle - part of a spate of such thefts in the area EMN-171107-133819001
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A Melton plasterer has been counting the cost of having power tools worth up to £3,000 stolen from his van.

Stephen Foote will have to bear the cost of replacing the tools because he says it is too expensive to get contents insurance for them.

The theft was the latest in a spate of burglaries from the vehicles of tradespeople in Melton and across the county.

Police are urging people not to leave tools overnight in vehicles but Mr Foote said that advice was not practical.

“When you realise the amount of kit we take out on jobs it’s a lot of work to unload the van every night, especially after a hard day’s work,” he said.

“And are they safer in a garage or a shed? I’m going to have to spend some money on new security locks for the van.”

Thieves broke into his van overnight on July 3 and 4 and made off with a haul including two screw guns, which cost £350 each, and a whipper device valued at more than £300, as well as a range of attachments and other tools.

Mr Foote added: “It’s your livelihood at the end of the day so it’s a blow.

“I will have to buy tools to replace them but luckily I’ve had lots of offers from people in the area and I’ve begged and borrowed stuff to finish jobs.”

Some of the Melton victims were residents of Beaconsfield Road, who had their vehicles broken into in the early hours of last Wednesday.

Denise Knipe disturbed two men in the act but they still got away with a spirit level, a large haul of power tools and side trims off one of the vans.

She said: “I was awoken just after 1am and I thought it was the resident fox in the bins.

“But the noise was too loud so I looked out the bedroom window and saw that the van back doors were open and I could see the top of a bloke’s hooded head.

“I banged on the window and they ran off to their van and drove off sharply. “Unfortunately I wasn’t able to give a description as it was dark - the street lights had gone out at this time.”

Det Insp Helen Nurse, from Leicestershire Police’s investigation unit, said: “While our enquiries continue into these incidents, we would like to take this opportunity to urge drivers to remove their belongings, including any tools and equipment from their vehicles.

“Please lock your vehicles securely, and park them so they can’t be accessed, to deter thieves from breaking in or stealing them.

“We would encourage anyone who has had tools stolen and hasn’t contacted police to do so.

“Any information you have, such as serial numbers, will help us reunite stolen property with its rightful owner.

“Our officers are out in communities stressing the importance of keeping vehicles and contents secure, whether you park them at home or in a public place and the force is running a number of initiatives to reduce vehicle crime, including additional officers patrolling hotspots and posting leaflets in public areas, such as local hotels.”

Police arrested four men, a youth and two women on Thursday on suspicion of some of the thefts after executing warrants in the Golf Course Lane area of Leicester.

Five men aged 18, 25, 25, 31 and 40, a 16-year-old youth and two women aged 18 and 19 were taken into custody on suspicion of theft offences.

They have all been released from police custody pending further investigation.

A number of vehicles were also recovered from the location along with a quantity of power tools which are suspected to have been stolen.