Victims warn they may ‘take matters into their own hands’ after Doncaster van thefts
Victims of the spree of violent theft from vans in Doncaster are growing frustrated with the lack of police response to the issue and say that they plan to take matters into their own hands.
A number of thefts from vans in Doncaster, where tools were taken by a group of men reportedly driving around in a black Ford Mondeo, have left tradesmen in the area unable to work.
Police have so far confirmed they are investigating two incidents including one where a shopping trolley was thrown, smashing the windscreen of a car driven by a woman who tried to intervene.
But residents claim that there have been far more thefts that police have not responded to.
They say they are quickly losing patience as the break-ins continue to take place leaving many living in fear that their livelihoods will be taken from them.
An electrician from Doncaster, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Every van lad I know has had enough of these crooks. Tool theft costs millions every year and it is just not taken seriously.
“I have asked the police myself ‘where are you’ and they have just said that they have some leads to follow.
“Many have lost all their tools and now they can’t work. A tradesman I had at my house was robbed on Monday night so he can't work until he can afford new tools.
“Where are the police? South Yorkshire Police want to be ashamed of themselves.
“I know of a meeting that's set up though to stop the thieves by local village lads who have had enough of no police.
“Many of these lads are professional fighters too. Drastic measures but people have had enough. No one has any faith in the police and it's clear why.”
Thefts from vans have been reported in Dunscroft, Stainforth, Armthorpe and Skellow, with an ‘old, dark Mondeo’ being mentioned in every post on Facebook.
The first posts about incidents on Facebook were made on Wednesday evening (December 18), with more reported online and to police on Thursday.
When confronted, the thieves are alleged to have threatened victims with screwdrivers and crowbars. In one case confirmed by police a shopping trolley was thrown at a car when the driver intervened, smashing the windscreen.
One victim wrote on Facebook: “Watch out people somebody just broke into my van and when I confronted them they went for me with a screwdriver. They are in a dark Mondeo.”
South Yorkshire Police have reassured members of the Doncaster community that they are doing all they can to bring the thieves to justice.
Inspector Andy Coulter, of the Doncaster East Neighbourhood Team, said: "We have received a couple of reports of thefts from motor vehicles in the area over the last few days and I'd like to reassure the local community that work is very much ongoing to trace those responsible. We believe the incidents are linked and the offenders have been using a black Ford Mondeo to get around.
"In the majority of the incidents which have been reported to us, tools have been stolen from work vans. We know being the victim of any crime is distressing - but when it affects your livelihood as well, particularly this close to Christmas, it can cause even further inconvenience and upset.
"We are currently pursuing a number of active lines of enquiry and are working with different teams and departments across the force and more widely to detain the offenders as swiftly as possible.
A statement from the police about the investigation so far said: “Police were called at around 11.30am on December 19 following reports of an incident on Howden Avenue, Skellow.
“It is reported that a motorist driving along the road came across some suspicious activity as tools were being removed from a parked van.
“The motorist is reported to have sounded her horn, which led to the suspected thieves throwing a metal trolley at her vehicle, causing her windscreen to smash.
“There were no reports of injuries. Enquiries are ongoing.”
South Yorkshire Police also confirmed to the Doncaster Free Press that the same car that was allegedly involved in the Howden Avenue incident was reportedly involved in another van burglary on Elm Road.
A spokesperson said: “Police were called to Elm Road, Skellow, just before 11.30am on December 19 following reports a van had been broken into.
“It is reported a large bag of tools was stolen by three men who were travelling in a black Ford Mondeo.”
Inspector Coulter added: "I'd urge anyone with information which may help us in our enquiries into these incidents to contact us on 101 quoting incident number 309 of 19 December.”
Alternatively, you can stay completely anonymous by contacting independent charity Crimestoppers via their website Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling their UK Contact Centre on 0800 555 111.