THIEVES are running riot in Minehead, Bridgwater and Taunton with 52 thefts from vans being reported in January so far.

Residents are being asked to be vigilant as the thieves are reportedly forcing their way into vehicles by breaking doors and windows.

Victims have reported hand and power tools being stolen in the majority of cases.

Sergeant Stuart Williams, who is leading the investigation in Minehead said: “We want to remind all van owners to remove tools from their vehicles overnight and if they are unable to do that to follow some of our simple steps below to prevent them becoming a victim of this crime."

Police recommend motorists empty a work van overnight, but if this not possible they advise:

- Permanently marking  tools with your business name or postcode to make them identifiable

- Registering them at

- Keeping them inside a secure storage cage or box anchored within the vehicle

- Setting the alarm as well as locking the van

- Parking in a secure garage or with the doors against a wall or against another vehicle to make access more difficult

- Check out for security products

And if you see anyone acting suspiciously around a vehicle in these areas call 101 or if you witness a crime in progress call 999.