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West Midlands branded van theft hotspot

By Thomas Parkes | Crime | Published:

The West Midlands has been branded a van theft hotspot after more than 1,600 vans were stolen last year.

The figures, which show a rise from 1,205 thefts in 2017 in the region, have been released by van leasing firm Vanarama in a bid to highlight the issue.

It also revealed West Midlands Police received more than four times the number of cases compared to the rest of the country.

Nottinghamshire came in second with 371 and Leicestershire in third with 366, figures from Freedom of Information requests showed.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson said vehicle manufacturers had been "slow to respond" to the crime.

It comes as part of a national increase across the UK of 29 per cent, with the van leasing company urging people to remain vigilant.

Mr Jamieson said: "I have been leading a national campaign on vehicle theft – tackling the big issues impacting on road users and their livelihoods.

"This is why I have been calling on Government to make a number of changes which will seriously disrupt the way in which organised vehicle thieves conduct their illicit activities.

"It is common sense that any vehicle which is written off should have its MOT cancelled immediately and require a full safety inspection before it is readmitted to our roads.

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Disappointing

"I have also been calling for tighter regulation around the availability of tools which are being used by thieves to steal vehicles, ensuring that they can only be purchased by those with a legitimate need to own them, such as mechanics and auto-locksmiths.

"I have been deeply critical of vehicle manufacturers and have called on them to ensure that their vehicles are more secure. I also believe they have been slow to respond to this surge in crime."

Staffordshire Police received the highest number of tool theft cases last year with 528 – although the figure is down from 597 the previous year.

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Andy Alderson, Vanarama CEO, said: "The figures make disappointing reading for tradespeople across the country who use their tools every day to make a living.

"Regardless of whether the van is old or new, drivers need to carefully think about where they are leaving their vehicle unattended as they are clearly being targeted by criminals.

"Manufactures are always thinking of ways to improve the security of new vehicles. This, in part, has contributed to a disparity between old and new vehicles."

Forces across the country received roughly 3,385 cases of tool theft from vans last year, equating to roughly 65 cases a week – or nine cases each day.

The latest figures exceed the number reported in 2017 suggesting a rise in the crime.

It also revealed 4,338 vans were reported as being stolen in 2018 – a 29 per cent increase from the previous year.

It equates to 84 vans every week or 12 vans a day.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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