A STAGGERING 72 thefts of tools from vans have been reported in Hampshire since August 13, it has been revealed.

Police are urging the public to be vigilant and take preventative measures following a series of thefts targeting vans across.

The officers have reason to believe that these incidents may be the work of an organised crime group, and they are seeking the community's assistance to aid their investigation.

The thefts are primarily concentrated in the eastern part of the county and along the A3 corridor.

These incidents have predominantly occurred during the evening and overnight hours.

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Some of the affected locations include Jervis Drive in Gosport, Grevillea Avenue in Fareham, Eastern Road in Portsmouth, Langstone Technology Park, Woodbury Avenue in Havant, Spencer Road in Emsworth, Hurstville Drive in Waterlooville, and various other areas throughout Hampshire.

Local authorities have now prioritised tackling this issue and will be conducting proactive patrols in hotspot areas.

In an effort to combat these thefts, the public is encouraged to report any suspicious activity or stolen number plates to the police.

If you have any information related to these thefts, police are asking you to refrain from sharing it online.

Instead, report it through the official Hampshire Police website at hampshire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/cor/tell-us-about-existing-case-report/ or call 101, quoting reference number 44230391471 and referencing 'Operation Boromir'.

To help van owners protect their tools and belongings, Hampshire Police have issued the following crime prevention advice:

  • Whenever possible, remove tools from your vehicle and store them securely overnight.
  • Clearly mark your tools with your name, company name, and address using paint pens, and seal them with a clear lacquer spray. Other property marking systems are also available.
  • Utilise a lockable cabinet within your van to store tools during the day.
  • Install a small camera designed to record within vehicles.
  • Take photographs of valuable items, noting their serial numbers, and register them online at a property register site.

For additional general advice on preventing thefts from vehicles, visit hampshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/keeping-vehicles-safe/vehicle-safe-and-sound/.