We are advising van owners to be vigilant following a spate of vehicle break-ins across Wiltshire over the past month.

We have received numerous reports of work vans being broken into and tools stolen, stretching across the county from the Trowbridge and Melksham areas, down to Salisbury.

PC Jay Greenland said: “We are seeing a spike in reports of thefts from vans, with large quantities of tools stolen.

“We are carrying out extensive enquiries as we believe many of these crimes are likely to have been carried out by the same people, who are targeting different areas across the county.

“We know the inconvenience, disruption and financial hardship these types of thefts cause, with victims not only losing the tools themselves, but also their means to earning a living – which is particularly difficult during these uncertain economic times.

“There are steps that you can take to help protect your vehicle and your tools, so please make sure you are aware of our crime prevention advice.”

Our crime prevention advice is as follows:

1. Keep your vehicle locked, windows shut and your keys secure
2. Park in a well-lit area and in clear view of your property and any CCTV cameras.
3. Do not leave any valuables such as wallets, phones, Sat Navs etc. on display.
4. Consider fitting a tool safe and secure it with good quality locks.
5. Try to park your van close to a building or hedge to restrict access.
6. If possible, remove all tools from the van when it is left overnight.
7. Take photographs of items of value and make a note of serial numbers.
8. Consider fitting an alarm that is Secured by Design accredited.
9. Mark the items of property/tools that are stored in the vehicle using an artificial DNA property marker such as Smartwater or SelectaDNA.
10. Call 999 immediately if you see a crime in progress or any suspicious activity around trade vans. Note the registration numbers of vehicles and descriptions of those involved.