Police are warning contractors and tradesmen to secure valuable tools and equipment after an increase in thefts targeting construction sites and work vehicles across the Tauranga region.
Tauranga Police Inspector Zane Smith says they are seeing a number of cases of commercial vehicles, such as vans and utes, being broken into and targeted for their tools.
The majority of these incidents have involved vehicles parked in driveways and on the side of the road at night.
There has also been an increase in reported cases of burglary where building materials have been stolen from building sites, says Zane.
"This type of offending is spread across the region, but there has been a significant number reported in Mount Maunganui, Papamoa Beach and Tauranga Central.
"Construction sites are a target as they often contain high-value items such as machinery, tools, copper, and other building materials, which are desirable to thieves and easy to on-sell."
Zane urges builders, project managers and contractors to be vigilant and take steps to reduce the opportunity for offenders to target construction sites.
He says security around construction sites is essential; fencing, good lighting, CCTV and quality locks are all important to deter would be thieves.
"Our advice to any company with valuable tools and equipment is to make sure the building site is completely packed up at the end of the day, and all desirable items have been secured.
"Do not leave anything valuable in unattended vehicles that aren’t kept in secure premises overnight and at weekends.
"It’s a good idea to record the serial number of your tools, mark them in a specific way, and take photos, so you have a record of what is yours."
Police encourage tradespeople to engrave personal tools with their drivers licence number.
Zane says this will assist Police with enquires in the event your property is stolen and increase the chance of it being recovered and returned to you.
"Police are actively patrolling and working with our community partners around these areas, we urge members of the public to report suspicious activity to Police promptly.
"If people see any criminal or suspicious activity, call 111 straight away.
"The sooner we know about it, the better chance we have of catching the offenders and preventing further crimes."
Anyone with information related to burglaries in the Tauranga area can contact Police on 105.
Alternatively, information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.