Melton van owners warned thieves will target their vehicles next month

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Van owners across the Melton borough are being warned by police that thieves are more likely to target their vehicles next month as the evenings get darker earlier.

Officers have launched a major new campaign to tackle a common spike in this type of crime in October with Leicestershire Police recording 130 more thefts from vans across the county during that month in 2018, compared to September.

Owners are being told to always lock their vans when they leave them and to ensure they security mark any tools stored in them.

Det Insp Simon Preston, the vehicle crime lead for the county force, said: “This is a crime that impacts people’s jobs and livelihoods.

“In a split second thousands of pounds worth of equipment can be stolen.

“This is costly, not only because stolen tools need to be replaced, but also because the time and business lost whilst waiting for new tools to arrive is so substantial.

“There are steps van owners can take to help prevent themselves from becoming victims of this crime, something I hope our campaign will really emphasise.”

Urging van owners to be vigilant tp protect against becoming victims of theft, he added: “We are encouraging van owners to always make sure their vehicle is locked, no matter how quickly they think they will return to the vehicle.

“They should security mark their tools because in the unfortunate event their tools are stolen this will make them much easier to trace.

“When possible, they should remove all valuables from the vehicle.

“Other tips when parking a van include: park in a well-lit area, near to CCTV, and park as close to another vehicle or building to prevent access to doors.”

Van owners can pick up a crime prevention pack from Melton police station giving advice on how to guard against becoming a victim of theft.

The packs are being handed out at stations across the county and three of them will contain a goldern ticket entitling the lucky winner to a specialised crime prevention van lock.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity around a van, or who has information relating to a theft from one, is asked call police on 101 in a non-emergency situation or 999 in an emergency.