A TRADESMAN from Tonbridge is warning fellow builders after more than £3,000-worth of power tools were stolen from his van in broad daylight.
Top-of-the-range drills, professional saws, heavy-duty batteries and nail guns were taken from Luke Jeffrey's work van when it was parked in Sovereign Way car park for an hour.
Mr Jeffrey, 33, had driven into town to run some errands at around 2pm on August 2 and left his secure van parked in the busy car park near Waitrose.
The self-employed father of two said: "When I came back to the van, I drove it back to the site in Larkfield where we're refurbishing a school. I found the lock had been smashed and phoned police straight away.
"I was shocked by it all, there was nothing I could have done differently. It was a locked, alarmed van, and it was daylight. To lose all my tools in a short space of time was hard to take."
Around £3,300-worth of tools were stolen, and Mr Jeffrey had to fork out £385 to repair the locks and install deadlocks to prevent a repeat attack.
He said: "I was only away from the van for about an hour. I want to share what happened so everyone else could be a bit more vigilant and highlight the danger of leaving your tools in the van.
"I've suffered a loss of revenue from taking a couple of days off work to get things sorted out. It's been very annoying.
"I had everything I needed to do my job. Now I've got a hammer and chisel. I've had to borrow tools from other tradesmen. It's been a major inconvenience."
Kent Police is now investigating the incident, and is looking at CCTV footage which could lead to the culprit.
Chief inspector Lee Russell from the force's crime reduction team, said: "There are many ways thieves will try to target vehicles especially if they think tools or valuable items could have been left inside. We use a variety of police tactics to target this type of criminal which both detect crime and deter it.
"However, there are lots of simple steps that vehicle owners can take to make it as difficult as possible for thieves to strike.
"Our message is that it takes only seconds for a thief to strike, but it also only takes seconds to secure your vehicle. Ensuring you lock your vehicle, remove all valuables from your vehicle, and park in well-lit areas are really simple ways to make it difficult for thieves."
Anyone with information on the incident can contact officers on 101 quoting YY/14953/13.