People across the Rotherham area are being warned to secure their property after a spate of thefts.
South Yorkshire Police said there had been a ‘significant increase’ in thefts from vehicles and from homes.
There has also been a spike in tools being stolen from work vans and items left in cars.
“If you drive a works van and take it home at night with you, consider whether it would be feasible to take out any portable power tools such as drills and Stihl saws from the van,” said PC Andy Robinson, Rotherham’s crime reduction officer.
“When you arrive home try to store them overnight in your home. Generally, the security of your home exceeds that of your van.”
He advised people to mark up the goods with the name of the company they belong to.
For example, permanent markers can be used to write the company’s postcode on drill casings, ladder frames and shafts of hand tools.
This makes it harder for anyone to sell it on, and deters thieves.
PC Robinson said vans were not just being targeted outside people’s homes, but close to where the driver was working during the day.
He said: “Remember to lock your van every time you leave it unattended.”
Other vehicles targeted by thieves in recent weeks had expensive items like designer sunglasses, mobile phones, sat navs and laptops left on show inside.
“Please take a couple of seconds before you secure your car, to ensure that any valuable items such as those mentioned above, are removed from the vehicle and taken with you,” he said.
“If you have a sat nav, do not just remove it from its cradle, remove the cradle as well, and clean any sucker marks off the glass.”
“A number of cars have been broken in to because they show signs of containing a sat nav, so offenders have broken in to try and find it. Also, never leave money on display in cars, however small the amount.”
Burglars have also been prowling around residential areas looking for insecure windows and doors to gain entry to homes.
PC Robinson said 40 per cent of burglaries had happened this way, but that the solution was simple.
“Never leave windows open in unoccupied ground floor rooms. If you are working outdoors and the house is unoccupied, lock the doors to ensure that no one can sneak in whilst you are at the bottom of the garden,” he said.
“There are offenders in Rotherham who walk around trying door handles, hoping to gain easy, quiet access to a house, and then to steal from within.”
“Help to thwart these people by ensuring that if you are at home, you have dropped the latch on your external doors, or secured the door chain.”
“Never leave items such as handbags, wallets, laptops and car keys on open display in unattended rooms.”
PC Andy Robinson can be contacted on 101 with any queries about security.