Thieves broke into at least four vans to steal power tools in Stevenage last night – and police have urged owners to stay vigilant.

Police said the thefts were from:

• a white Peugeot van parked in Carisbrooke Close, which had the rear doors forced open with power tools stolen from inside

• a silver Citroen Berlingo van parked in Whitesmead Road, which had power tools and a wallet stolen from inside

• a white Ford Transit van parked in Tintern Close, which had its lock damaged before power tools were stolen from inside

• a grey Renault Traffic van parked in Headingley Close, from which power tools were stolen.

Det Insp Chris Treadwell said: “Thefts from vans is an ongoing issue for us, but we have seen an increase in this type of crime recently.

“I’d like to remind van owners to secure their vehicles as much as possible, remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities around vans to us immediately.”

Anyone with information about any of these thefts or any other crime should contact police on 101 or If you think a crime is in progress, always call 999.

Police have issued the following crime prevention advice for van owners:

• It might sound obvious, but make sure you lock the doors and shut the windows whenever you leave your van unattended.

• Never leave any valuables visible – keep ALL possessions out of sight. Even if you know that there is nothing valuable in your jacket pocket or file left on the seat, a thief may try their luck.

• Remove tools from your van when left overnight

• If removal of tools is not possible, fit a tool safe and ensure it is fully secured with good-quality locks.

• Consider parking your van close to a hedge or wall to restrict access for anyone trying to get inside.

• Engrave or mark tools and their boxes with your postcode and house number.

• Fit additional external locks to van doors.

• Use an approved steering lock or gear clamps, and remember to set your immobiliser and alarm if you have one.

• Fit a dual-band tracking device that works on VHF/UHF and GPS to ensure that one tracking system is still functioning if criminals use GPS blocking techniques to avoid detection.

• Use a pedal box guard to encase the pedals when the vehicle is not in use.

• Fit an on-board diagnostic (OBD) safe device – a secure lockable device that fits over the vehicle’s OBD port, inside the cabin, to prevent additional keys being coded.