Police warn North Herts van drivers about gadget which can break into vehicles without force

A 29-year-old man from Hitchin has been arrested on suspicion of the theft of agricultural equipment

A 29-year-old man from Hitchin has been arrested on suspicion of the theft of agricultural equipment from an Ashwell building site. - Credit: Archant

Drivers have been given a warning from police after a series of vans may have been broken into using a device which can break into the vehicle without force.

One suspected case is that of Ricky Brown, whose Ford Transit was broken into while it was parked overnight in Chapman Road in Stevenage on the night of Monday, August 24.

The next morning the 38-year-old found the doors open, but pulled to. There was no visible damage to the vehicle, but several tools had been taken.

Ricky’s wife Lucy Sheridan-Brown said: “A footprint was found inside the van which was extremely clear and not related to my husband.

“It would seem that there is now a gadget on the market and this is allowing thieves to open the rear of Ford Transit vans without damaging it.

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“How can there be this magic key gadget so readily available? Shouldn’t all Ford van drivers be warned about this?”

Insp Paul Lawrence from the Herts police crime reduction unit said: “Thefts from vans, particularly Ford Transits, has been a problem in recent months.

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“It is believed that, in some cases, thieves are using a device which allows them to access vans without force.

“There are several simple steps van owners can take to help keep their vehicles more secure.

“We would always encourage people to remove all tools from vans when left overnight or, if this is not possible, fit a tool safe and ensure it is fully secured with good locks.

“We would also advise drivers to consider fitting an on-board diagnostic safe device, a secure lockable device that fits over the vehicle’s OBD port, inside the cabin, to prevent additional keys being coded.

“Anyone who sees suspicious activity around vehicles should contact police straight away on 101, or, if a crime is in progress, call 999.”

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