THAMES Valley Police has warned tradesmen to be on their guard after a host of tool thefts were reported in Bracknell.

Criminals are targeting trade vans, left outside homes, on residential streets and in supermarket car parks.

Thieves are cutting holes in panels of secure vehicles in order to release the door locks, and then steal whatever power pools are within.

Bracknell and Wokingham officer, Jon Morris said: “On a number of occasions the offenders have activated vehicle alarms or been disturbed by passing pedestrians at which they have fled in cars. Police are seeking witnesses and CCTV.

“If you disrupt or witness such a theft please notify police by 999 – crime in progress.

“If you have any information about the offenders involved or discover you have captured mobile phone, CCTV or Dashcam footage of them, it is asked that you notify Thames Valley Police either online or by phoning 101

“Alternatively, if you wish to remain anonymous you can pass information via the independent charity, “Crimestoppers” who do not ask for or record any personal details, On-Line or by phoning them free of charge on 0800 555 111.”

Police have released advice to any tradesperson, family member or neighbour who relies on a van to transport their tools.


Six steps to stop tool thieves 

1.      Secure your vehicle

Ensure your vehicle is secure and locked when not in use. Consider fitting British Standard Deadlocks on all doors.

2.      Alarm your vehicle

Have an alarm fitted to your vehicle if it doesn't already have one and consider installing a dashcam.

3.    Think Park Secure

Park in busy, visible secure areas of car parks as this will be less tempting to a potential criminal.

Look for the Park Mark sign for car parks that have been accredited for creating a safer environment for both you and your vehicle.

4.      Be vigilant

Be aware of suspicious people or vehicles in your area and report details including any descriptions on 101.


5.     Where possible leave your vehicle empty

Otherwise consider keeping tools secured in lockable strong boxes securely bolted to the interior of your van.


6.      Mark your tools

Security marking your tools deters criminals and assists police in prosecuting offenders.  You can either:

•    Engrave the tool with your home or business postcode.

•    Mark it obviously with a permanent marker or paint with a postcode and lacquer spray.

•    Use a covert product such as “Smartwater” or “Selecta DNA” - further details of these can be found on the internet.