COUNTY NEWS: ‘Act now in improving your security’ warns kitchen fitter

Jonny Lea, 44, was almost a victim of the crime. Picture: Steve Robards
Jonny Lea, 44, was almost a victim of the crime. Picture: Steve Robards

A Sussex kitchen fitter who almost had his tools stolen from his van is warning other tradesmen to ‘act now in improving their security’.

The fresh warning comes after our sister paper the Middy reported concerns raised by Peter Stevenson from Haywards Heath, that van break-ins were ‘rife’. Read the story here.

Jonny Lea, 44, of Wheatsheaf Lane, Cuckfield, said: “In my case although they couldn’t get past the slam lock they did cause thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“Fortunately I’ve got protected no claims and excess cover, however it still takes a lot of time and effort to get the vehicle fixed.

“Since the attempted break-in I’ve spent a considerable amount adding additional levels of security which I know won’t stop these lowlives from getting in but it might just buy me an extra few minutes to get to my van before they empty it or drive off with the whole lot.

“Nowhere is safe so my advice to other tradesmen would be to act now in improving your security on your van, tools and home.

“Trade social media groups such as VATTA (Van and Tool Theft Awareness) will give you tips and a heads up on what’s happening in your area.

“As it stands there is very little to deter these thieves, police do not have the manpower to catch them so it’s up to us to make it as hard as possible for them to take our livelihoods away from us.”

Since reporting on the van break-ins this paper has gone to Sussex Police to find out what is being done to tackle the problem.

Inspector Jo Webb said: “We are aware of a number of thefts from vans and sheds.

“Tools and garden equipment appear to be continually targeted.

“Most offences are reported to us after the theft and not at the time of occurrence.

“We are however continuing to investigate each case looking at links to identify offenders responsible.

“If anyone is seen acting suspiciously please contact us immediately.”