A tradesman who had hundreds of pounds worth of tools stolen is urging people to be extra vigilant amid fears thieves are targetting the town.

Mick Taylor, of Hedingham Road, Halstead, had £840 worth of power tools taken from his van during an overnight raid.

Mr Taylor, who has been a tradesman for 36 years, had left the vehicle parked on his drive and was horrified to wake up one morning to discover it had been broken into.

He said: “They came all the way up my driveway and managed to break in. I had all sorts of things of value left in the van but it was the tools they were after.

“It’s quite unnerving to think someone has come that close to your home and stolen stuff while you sleep.

“They took two power tools and a load of hand tools which have taken years to collect.”

Mr Taylor, who works for garden furniture specialists Barlow Tyrie in Braintree, is warning fellow tradesman to take extra precautions after hearing of others who have also been victims of thieves.

He said: “I have heard of people getting hit several times. The thieves wait for the insurance money to come in then return when new tools are bought.

“My advice would be to take all of your tools out of your van at night and lock them safely away inside.

“It can be really hard to make everything safe but at the moment it’s worthwhile.

“I work for a company but for anyone who is self employed having their tools stolen can really affect their work.”

Another resident suggested thefts from vans was rife in Halstead and says her partner’s vehicle has been targeted twice by crooks.

She said: “The first time they broke in was in October. They took power tools worth about £2,000.

“Then the other night someone rammed a screwdriver into the lock trying to break in. There wasn’t anything in there because my partner always brings his tools inside now.

“You see so many things on Facebook about people’s vans being broken into. It’s rife. I don’t think there is much more we can do.”

Police are investigating the incident in Hedingham Road overnight on January 28 to 29 and appealing for people to call 101.