Van crime epidemic continues in Harlow as break in’s now average three per day

Politics / Tue 19th May 2015 at 09:38am

VAN drivers have been urged to be on guard following an increase in thefts from vehicles across west Essex.

Most of the vans targeted in recent months have belonged to contractors and tradesmen and hundreds of high-value tools have been taken.

One of the worst-affected areas has been Harlow where a total of 182 cars and commercial vehicles have been broken into since March 1, the majority being vans, including 85 Ford Transits.

A number of people have been arrested in connection with the thefts and tools worth thousands of pounds have been recovered, but officers are still trying to trace the owners.

Inspector Paul Maleary, based at Harlow, said: “Thieves are concentrating on vans carrying high value tools or equipment. We would urge van owners to consider the security that they have on their vehicles.

“Drivers should have high-quality alarms fitted on their vans and should ensure the alarm is set when the vehicle is parked overnight. They should also consider fitting a second lock as a second line of defence. Tools should also be property marked and officers from our Neighbourhood Policing Team can advise how this can be carried out.

“If a van is left overnight in a hotel or public car park it should be left near the entrance or a road and not somewhere quiet or out-of the way.

“Vehicles parked in hotel car parks seem to be the favourite targets for would be thieves and it is important that the drivers park their vehicles in a way that makes it impossible for the criminal to operate.

“We are distributing leaflets to van drivers and owners in areas that have been targeted and are hoping for support from the hotel management teams to prevent these offences from taking place.”

Anyone with information in relation to these offences can contact Essex Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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