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POLICE are linking a string of thefts which have stripped tradesmen of thousands of pounds worth of tools.
Vans have been targeted across Brighton and Hove in the past month, with thieves clearing them out and damaging the vehicles in the process.
Across the city in October, 29 incidents of vans being broken into were reported to police and the pattern has continued into November.
Most recently, roofer Darren Page was targeted.
The owner of D Page Roofing has been leaving his van at one of his employee’s houses in Hollingbury Rise, Hollingdean, because he has an injury and is unable to drive.
He was told yesterday morning by the worker that thieves had broken into the van and stolen his tools.
Mr Page, 36, said: “I’ve missed out on £150 and my two labourers have lost £100 each.
“I didn’t take my tools indoors because you just don’t think it’s going to happen.
“I’m going to keep all of the vans parked outside my house at weekends now. It’s happening everywhere.”
Patcham has been the hot spot in the crime spree. Of the 29 thefts reported last month, 16 were carried out there.
Yesterday we reported a tradesman had £6,000 worth of tools stolen from his van in Vale Avenue on Sunday evening – the second time he was targeted in two weeks.
There have been 21 thefts in the area in a two-week period. Between November 6 and 7, five more were reported. Police have now sent more officers to the area.
Residents have called a crisis meeting with police and councillors at the Ladies Mile pub at 6.30pm tonight.
Sergeant James Ward said: “We have seen an increase in theft from vans in the Patcham area, 21 in the past two weeks with 16 committed overnight between October 25 and 26 and overnight between October 28 and 29 and a further five offences between November 6 and 7.
“We are linking all of them and are investigating them as a series. We have increased our patrols in the area.
“We will also be attending a community meeting on November 9 to speak to people and offer crime prevention advice. We will continue to attend the location of every reported van break in Patcham, trawl CCTV and speak to people in the area when appropriate.”
Anyone with information about the theft from Mr Page’s van should call police on 101 quoting serial 0177 of 08/11.
Source: The Argus