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CRIME PREVENTION ADVICE

Dear resident

As I’m sure you may be aware. The Villages along the A37 & A39 have been targeted by thieves during the nights. This has also extended out into Timsbury. They have targeted Vans particularly for their tools. One of the types of Vans being targeted are Ford Transit. Victims are reporting that their tools have been taken. But can’t see any signs of how the van has been opened / entered? It’s suggested that a skeleton key is being used on the Ford Transit models. Other makes like Peugeot, Renault, Nissan & VW have also been targeted but we’re not aware of any of those being targeted with a skeleton key. A Ford Transit on a 2007 registration was taken without the keys being present, likely to be a skeleton key used. Your local Beat Team have the following advice.

Vehicle Security

It might sound obvious, but make sure you lock the doors and shut the windows whenever you leave your van unattended. We have had reports of thefts from vans during the daylight along the A37 when victims have been at work with their van nearby. It literally takes a thief seconds for an opportunity. Never leave any valuables visible – keep ALL possessions out of sight. That includes power leads, Satnavs & mounts, coins, sunglasses, clothing or bags. Even if you know that there is nothing valuable in your jacket pocket or file left on your seat. A thief may try their luck. Whenever possible park in a lit area that is covered by CCTV. If the vehicle is parked outside of your property or driveway consider installing CCTV on your property. Remove your tools from your van when left over night. If that’s not possible fit a tool safe and ensure it is fully secured with good quality locks. Engrave or mark tools and their boxes. Ideally mark them overtly with paint pens and then seal down the marking with a clear lacquer spray. Mark property with the name of your company, the postcode, house or building name or number. Items that are overtly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on. Fit additional external locks to van doors. If your van is older, consider fitting new locks that are more difficult to compromise. Ensure your alarm or immobiliser is set. There are various alarms on the market. However a small standalone PIR shed type alarm with a texting facility or personal attack alarm can be very loud when triggered, and will act as a deterrent and let you know that your vehicle has been entered. Use an approved steering lock or gear clamps Vehicles fitted with a smart or passive key are susceptible to relay theft. This key system allows you to gain entry and start your vehicle without the need to interact with your vehicles key. Criminals use specialist equipment that has the ability to grab the signal from the car to the smart key so that it appears to the car that the key is present. Your vehicle is most vulnerable overnight, particularly if parked on your driveway or directly outside of your home.

How to prevent this?

When not in use – either at home or when out and about – store your keys in a security pouch. Security pouches are sometimes termed Faraday bags or signal blockers/shields and there are many security rated versions on the market. These pouches will prevent the signal from your vehicle being captured using electronic devices. Remember to secure both keys in a security pouch.

Number Plate Thefts

We’re still receiving reports of thefts of the number plates from the victim’s cars. It’s highly likely that the plates will be fixed to another vehicle and that vehicle will be used for criminal offences. It’s important if you’re the victim of such an offence to report it so that our database can be adjusted to identify when stolen plates are being used. To prevent this you can fit theft resistant number plate fittings. Use one-way clutch head screws to secure plates.

Motorcycle / Moped Security

There have been reports of attempted thefts of motorbike / moped in Farrington Gurney. Keep your motorcycle / moped in a garage, shed or use a motorcycle cover. Storing it out of view is one of the best ways to prevent opportunist theft. Invest in good quality security. Lock your motorcycle / moped to something. Just using a chain & lock around the frames and wheels means a thief could just carry the bike away. Loop a chain around a sturdy fixed object. Avoid street signage. Some are not very high and lighter bikes could be lifted over the top of the post. Lock the rear wheel to an immovable object or ground anchor and use a disk lock on the front wheel. Making your motorcycle/moped less of an easy option will reduce the chances of it being targeted. Combine the use of a disk lock and a chain lock attached to a ground anchor. Where possible keep the lock off the ground. Whenever you lock and chain the rear wheel, wrap any excess chain around the rear wheel and try to enclose the lock. Keeping the lock off the ground can prevent it being attacked and smashed. Consider fitting a lock that has an added alarm fitted upon tampering. Choose a high quality chain at least 16mm thick as they are almost impossible to cut with bolt croppers. Quality chains of this are also much harder to cut using power tools. To work out what length of chain you need. Use a piece of rope through the intended route then measure the length of rope used. Do not buy a chain longer than you need. Leaving any length of chain, especially one with longer links, lying on the floor makes it vulnerable to attack. Be mindful that even 1 metre of 16mm chain will weigh 4.5kg so you will need a tail box or pannier. Avoid cable locks. Few offer any deterrent it is easy to cut them with a basic cable cutters, hacksaws and even wire-cutters.

Caravan Security

There have been reports of caravans being taken from addresses in Farrington Gurney & Emborough. Fit physical security and a caravan cover. The combination of hitch lock anti-theft, wheel clamp and ground anchor. A physical barrier to theft is always a clear deterrent. Using a caravan cover and installing an alarm makes any theft more difficult and your caravan less attractive. Register record and property mark all parts of the caravan or trailer. Register your caravan or trailer with the Central Registration & Identification Scheme (CRIS) and use overt and covert chips to mark it. If stolen it may have its number plates, chassis, frame or CRIS numbers removed. Take photos, including specific fittings, marks or damage as these can help to identify your caravan or trailer. Install an alarm and tracking system, including roof markings. If stolen being able to identify your caravan or trailer is vital. Add clear roof markings, giving the year of manufacture and CRIS number, to assist the Police in identifying your caravan.

Shed / Garage Security

There have been reports of garages being targeted taking expensive mountain bikes, child’s motorbike and fishing equipment. Most common things stolen from your shed or garage. Bikes, mowers, garden tools & power tools. Make sure your shed door, door frame and walls are solid. Replace any damaged or rotten areas with new sections. Try to place the shed door facing your house and not too close to a perimeter wall or gate. The extra noise made by a gravel path can be a good deterrent. Security lights can have a positive effect, but you must be able to see them from your house. Fit a shed alarm to the inside of the shed door. Ensure the hasp is bolted through the shed and into a steel plate. Replace ordinary screws on outbuilding doors with non-return screws or coach bolts. Obscure the window of your shed / garage to prevent thieves seeing what you have inside. Ensure any ladders or steps are put away or secure with a decent chain and padlock. Consider keeping valuable items in a strong lockable box or cage. Fit two closed shackle padlocks on strong padlock hasps – one third of the way up from the bottom of the door and one third of the way down from the top of the door. Bicycles and larger garden equipment should be locked to a correctly installed ground anchor or shed shackle. If that’s not possible then consider those items to be stored in the garage / home. Fit wire mesh or bars on the inside of your window frames. If you have a household alarm fitted, consider extending the system into the garage area. Fit a garage door blocker on the outside of the door. This product bolts permanently to the floor, has a large T bar shaped restrictor and a quality locking device. Various good quality “up and over” or rolling deadlocking door handles can be purchased to replace any existing poor quality locks to give better security. Consider purchasing loop cables. These have a long braided steel cable and a two bolt anchor locking point. These fix to garage walls or floors and can be passed through expensive property such as quad bikes etc. some cables are alarmed.  The integral garage door of modern properties is usually a fire door but is not usually secure. We do not recommend carrying out any work on a fire door as it may affects its performance. We recommend products that are Sold Secure or Secure by Design.

If you require any further advice please don’t hesitate to contact your local Beat Team at Radstock Police Station.

Stay safe Stuart Peard Police Constable 3455 Safer Stronger Neighbourhoods Team, Avon and Somerset Police Radstock Police Station, Wells Road, Radstock, BA3 3SG Tel 101 (non-emergency number) or if you see suspicious activity call 999.