Oxfordshire has been hit by a spat of van break-ins since the turn of the year, it has been revealed. Cowley saw one power saw taken as police believe the same gang of professionals committed a similar crime days later when more tools were taken from a van which had been parked up overnight (Why didn’t he stop it, Bodie?*).
The police are now appealing for witnesses after the thefts have been labeled ‘a string of crimes’ following a reported number of weighty claims against the victims van insurance policies, although it’s unclear whether the claims are purely for damage sustained by the vehicles themselves or whether they are for the cargo, too.
The crime committed in Cowley was perpetrated during daylight hours when the unwitting van driver left his Stihl power saw in the back of his unlocked Transit; the break-in which followed days later had a ‘number of power tools’ lifted, also; as such, police are asking all tradesmen working in the area to be extra vigilant and lock up their tools, even if they are on site. Claims are all well and good against van insurance but the victims in this instance have reportedly been left unable to carry out their jobs until they get replacements.
Oxfordshire PC Laura Mabbott later made an appeal in the Oxford Mail. With reference to leaving valuable goods in open view, she said that people were inviting opportunist thieves to steal, not safeguarding them by at least locking them away and not leaving items such as laptops in obvious places, namely underneath the passenger seat where thieves instinctively look.
In addition, she asked anyone offered cheap tools to think twice before accepting them as there was a likelihood of them being stolen. Irrespective of handling stolen goods being unlawful, the easier thieves sell on tools, the bigger the market they envisage, which only leads them to steal more readily. It’s a vicious circle and often, even though it is seen as a victimless crime, claiming against insurance, for the van driver involved who may have ruined his no claims bonus, he is unlikely to retain the cheap level of van insurance prior to the incident and may take him years to accrue that level of discount again.
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