POLICE in Redditch have warned motorists to keep their vehicle locked after a number of van break-ins have been reported.

Webheath and Headless Cross have recently experienced an increase in vehicle-related crime whereby a number of transit type vans have been broken in to, in order to steal tools.

During the periods September 25 to 26, November 20 to 21 and 27 to 28, West Mercia Police recorded 13 incidents of theft in which the offenders have cut a hole in a door panel to gain access to the locking mechanism.

The attacked vehicles were parked outside residential properties or on pub car parks, and broken into during the early hours of the morning.

Offenders have stolen items including Makita power drills, a Stihl hedge trimmer, chainsaws, mowers, and various hand tools.

PCSO Mike Handford, from the South West & Rural Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Vans are often targeted by thieves for the tools stored inside.

"Ideally, tools should not be left in a van overnight; however, if this is not possible it's a good idea to mark them clearly with your name / company name and address using paint pens and seal with a clear lacquer spray.

"Alternatively, you can use a variety of other property marking systems.

"Items that are clearly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on.

"Consider using a lockable cabinet within your van to store tools – a number of security rated products are available. Small cameras are also designed to record inside vehicles.

"After-market door security plates can also be purchased and fitted to increase the security of vans.”

He added that for more crime prevention advice and ideas people could visit securedbydesign.com.

Any members of the public who see anyone acting suspiciously around vehicles are being asked to call West Mercia Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.