Test Valley police are warning motorists to be vigilant after four vans were targeted in nine days. The latest incident happened on Alma Road in Romsey on Thursday as a van was broken into, but nothing was stolen.

Police said the culprits are trying to steal tools from vans in what seems like a series of targeted attacks. The public have been asked to report to the police if they find anyone selling second-hand tools and equipment.

The first case was reported on Thursday, December 3, when tools were stolen from a van parked overnight on Sarson Close in Andover.

Another parked van was broken into and tools were stolen on Crescent Road in North Baddesley on Monday night.

This was followed by yet another attack on Pembroke Close in Romsey in which a van was damaged after attempted break-in on Wednesday night.

Inspector Chris Taylor said: “These are hardworking trades people having their livelihood put at risk by criminals.

“Our local neighbourhood teams are conducting late night operations to combat this, and there will be targeted patrols in hot-spot areas.

“As you know we can’t be everywhere all the time, so we want to remind you to make sure your vehicle is secure.

“We also welcome any information from the public that can help us combat these offences. If you know anyone who is selling second-hand tools and equipment please let us know by calling 101, or reporting online via our website.”

Police have also issued guidelines to owners from securing their vans.

• Park your vehicle in a secure area, such as in a garage or behind locked gates if possible, or in easy view.

• Do not leave tools or equipment on view inside the vehicle • If possible, remove valuable items from the vehicle overnight and store them in a secure location.

• Consider fitting an appropriate alarm system, protecting the cabin and load areas.

• Apply a security marking product to power tools and equipment (further details available on request). Alternatively, etch or emboss identifiable marks to these items.

• Consider installing secure storage containers or lockers in the van to store tools in.

• Ensure that the van doors are securely locked and consider having suitable deadlocks installed.

• Make sure to physically check that the van doors and windows are locked if you have used the remote to lock the vehicle, even if the feedback indicates the van as locked.

• When visiting businesses, try to park close to the entrance and preferably in the view of any CCTV.