Crime prevention advice after van break-ins in Westbury

Alert message sent 05/02/2022 09:58:00

Information sent on behalf of Wiltshire Police

We are issuing crime prevention advice as we investigate two separate reports of vans being broken into in Westbury.

They both happened overnight between Thursday and Friday (04/02), with one vehicle being broken into in Fell Road and the other in Oldfield Road.

The van in Fell Road had a quantity of tools stolen from within, while there was some criminal damage to the second van.

We are now carrying out enquiries and would urge anyone with information to call us on 101, quoting crime references 54220012317 (Fell Road) and 54220012299 (Oldfield Road).

Meanwhile, we would urge people to consider the following crime prevention advice to help keep their vehicles and belongings safe:

1. Always lock it - Fuelling up or popping back into your house to get something are perfect examples of how easy it is to turn your back for a moment and forget your vehicle is unsecured. So get into the habit of locking your vehicle even if you’re only going to be away from it for a moment.

2. Close windows and the sun roof to prevent ‘fishing’ - Leaving windows and the sunroof open invites fishing for items through the gap by hand or with, say, a bent coat hanger, which could also be used to unlock a door for them to get in. Thieves can be ingenious. Don’t give them the opportunity.

3. Secure your number plates with tamper-resistant screws - The easiest way to change the identity of a stolen vehicle or avoid speeding tickets and parking tickets is to fit stolen number plates. Using security screws to attach your vehicle’s number plates makes it harder for thieves to get your number.

4. Take it with you or hide it - Your mobile phone, coins for the car park, sunglasses, packs of medication or other items that can earn quick cash are irresistible to the opportunist thief. Remember, the cost of replacing a window is often much more than that of what’s stolen. And it should go without saying that wallets, handbags, purses and credit cards should never be left in an unattended vehicle.

5. Hide electrical items and leave no clues - Leaving sat nav mounts, suction cup marks on windows or cables on view gives it away that you have left a Sat Nav, smartphone or other device in your car. Even if they can’t see the Sat Nav or iPad they might still break in to see if it’s stored in the car, out of sight.

6. Tool theft from vans - Vans are often targeted by thieves for the tools stored inside. If possible, do not leave tools inside your van. However, if you have to leave them overnight, 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.
Message sent by
Siobhan Stayt (Police, Media Officer, Wiltshire)

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