Tradesmen in the Cotswolds have been targeted following a spate of vehicle break-ins.
Police are asking motorists to be vigilant following a spate of nearly 50 vehicle breaks since April.
Between April 1 and June 15, 47 thefts from vehicles were reported around the county with work vans in Gloucester and the Cotswolds mostly being targeted.
Investigating officers believe that thieves have gained entry to the vehicles by forcing doors or locks before searching inside and stealing items including tools.
Detective Superintendent Steve Bean said: “A significant number of expensive power tools and high-end branded hand-tools have been stolen from people such as builders, carpenters, plumbers and mechanics who are trying to make an honest living during difficult times.
“Some of the items may be unique to a particular trade and can sometimes be quite hard to replace.
“The theft of tools from workmen can have a massive impact on the victim as they may be unable to work until the items are replaced so it’s not just the cost of replacing the tools but also the cost of lost earnings as a result of them being stolen.
“It is unknown if the same people are responsible for committing these offences but we do know that this is a callous crime that we are very keen to bring a stop to.
“Criminals are quick to exploit any opportunity they are presented with, so I would urge motorists not to make it easy for thieves to take your hard-earned possessions by removing valuable items, such as tools, when leaving the vehicle overnight and parking in well-lit areas if possible.”
Officers also encourage workmen to use “no tools left in this vehicle overnight” signs and forensic markers, that will help to identify any stolen tools that may be recovered, as well as keeping a record of tool serial numbers.
Further advice on keeping your vehicle secure can be found via bit.ly/3dijEkt