Crooks using device to open up work vans are ‘low life scum’
Marie and Nick Blainey pictured with the van that was broken in to.
Crooks using ‘magic keys’ to unlock work vans in Nottinghamshire have been branded ‘low life scum’ by a victim.
Nick Blainey, 35, has been left counting the cost after a van belonging to his firm NB Roofing and Windows was opened up in New Eatons Road in Stapleford overnight on Wednesday.
In total two Makita radios, three Makita impact drivers, one Makita drill, a Stihl saw and a circular saw were taken, with an estimated value of around £1,500.
Another similar break-in was reported in the town on the same night, with a Stihl chainsaw and a petrol blower taken – and now owners of Ford Transit vans are being urged to take precautions amid fears a special device is being used by thieves to override the vehicles’ central locking systems.
Nick’s wife Marie Blainey, 33, said: “The van is a work van, My husband has got an employee who lives on New Eatons Road who takes it home with him.
“He parks in the same place every night under a street light where there’s a camera nearby we later found out is not always switched on.
“Somebody’s broken into the van and taken a number of tools. It was just the tools that they took.
“To replace these second hand would cost about £700 so I’d say it cost us new about £1,500.
“There was no damage to the van where they’ve got in, which has led us to believe they used one of these magic keys you can get on the internet for £16.99.
“They should be banned from selling them – they’re even advertised as being for picking locks.
“A few months ago my brother-in-law’s van was broken into on Moor Bridge Lane and not a lot was done about that, and a van was done on the same night around the corner on Hillfield Road. you see it all the time on Facebook that someone’s van has been done, it’s all the time.
“You’ve got people working bloody hard for what they’ve got.
“I’m a bit gutted really. We’re trying to expand the business, we’re just a small business and we’ve got four kids and what we’ve got, we’ve worked hard for, my husband goes out to work every single day, and you get some low life scum who thinks it’s okay to come and rob you, it breaks me.”
Stapleford Councillor Richard McRae said: “I’ve been mentioning this for two or three years at various meetings I go to and I’ve always thought it’s never been taken seriously.
“It’s about time it was started to be acknowledged. This is not the first time this has happened in Stapleford.
“These devices are regularly available on the internet and if you look at the comments people are posting they’re slating the sites for selling them. I understand locksmiths and garages have stuff like that, it’s part of their job, but for an average Joe on the street it’s not something you need.
“The police say lock it or lose it but people are locking their vans. I just don’t think it’s right these things are so easily available, it’s just wrong.”
Police urged Ford Transit van owners to be vigilant – and issued security advice after 10 reports of thefts over five days in the Eastwood area.
Vans have been broken into and a variety of power tools stolen between Thursday, February 2, and Tuesday, February 7.
All vans attacked were Ford Transits, and beat officers in Broxtowe say a device was used by the offenders to override the central locking systems.
Inspector Steve Wragg, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “A high number of valuable power tools have been taken from vans belonging to self-employed workers who rely on these possessions every day for their work.
“We would like to remind all van owners to remove their tools from their vehicle when it is left unattended for long periods of time and overnight.
“It is a small inconvenience to remove them to the security of a home, which in turn means people are less likely to be the victim of financial loss and also penalised on their car insurance premiums.
“Please ensure you use a garage if you have one. If your van is parked on a driveway, consider installing security lighting. If neither of these apply, try to park in well-lit areas.
“Vans should be clearly marked that all tools have been removed. All vehicle equipment, whether you can remove it or not, should be permanently marked, in a visible place, with the vehicle’s registration number.”
Anyone with information about the thefts or anyone who is offered tools for sale in suspicious circumstances should contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101. Alternatively you can call CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.