Police officers are warning residents to be on their guard after a string of thefts from vans across the borough.
Since February 1, ten vans have been targeted and more than £8,000 worth of equipment has been stolen. Most of the thefts took place overnight.
Sergeant Karen Mellor, from the East Hemel Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “I’d like to remind residents to make sure they securely lock vehicles when they are left unattended and that leaving valuable items in vehicles is very likely to entice criminals to break in.
“We really need people to help us and themselves by not leaving tools and valuable items in their vehicles.
“Please remove tools from your vans when they are not in use. I appreciate this isn’t easy, however if you have tools stolen which are vitally important to your business, you will lose out financially as a result.
“If you are unable to remove tools from your vehicle, please park it in a garage if you can, or invest in a tool safe to go in your van.
Purchasing additional external security locks for your vehicle will also make it more difficult for a criminal to force the lock and a therefore a less ttractive option.
“Ensuring that all tools are indelibly marked in a manner that is visible will also be off-putting to thieves, such as engraving, weld marking, ultraviolet paint or painted bright colours which may make them less attractive to steal. “Then ensure you have a record of serial numbers and, ideally, a photo of valuable tools, and register them on the online property register www.immobilise.com.
“That way, if the items are later recovered by police, they can be returned to you.”
> A blue Peugeot was broken into in Millbank and a power drill stolen overnight on Sunday, January 31.
> A white Ford panel van parked in Galley Hill, Hemel, was broken into at around 6pm on Monday, February 1. A cement mixer and a variety of tools were taken.
> A white Ford transit van parked in Windmill Road, Hemel, was broken into overnight on Monday February 1. A selection of power tools were stolen.
> A green Ford transit van parked in Sainfoin End, Hemel, was broken into at around 11.30pm on Monday, February 1. A power drill was stolen.
> A silver Toyota van parked in Whitestone Walk, Hemel, was broken into on the afternoon of Monday, February 8. A selection of hand and power tools stolen.
> A white Ford transit van parked in Townsend, Hemel, was broken into overnight on Tuesday, February 9. A set of landscaping tools were stolen.
> A white Ford transit van parked in Bayford Close, Hemel, was broken into overnight on Tuesday, February 9. A strimmer and credit card stolen.
> A white Ford transit van parked in Granville Road, Northchurch was broken into overnight on Tuesday, February 9. A leaf blower stolen.
> A Ford transit van parked in Cowper Road, Markyate was broken into overnight on Wednesday, February 10. A mixing drill taken.
> A white Ford transit van parked in Coral Gardens, Hemel, was broken into on Wednesday, February 10. A concrete saw and compactor were stolen.