Tradies urged to be vigilant amid spike in thefts of work vehicles, construction sites in Tauranga

Police are warning contractors and tradies to secure valuable tools and equipment after an increase in thieves targeting construction sites and work vehicles in Tauranga. 

Tauranga Police Inspector Zane Smith said police are seeing increasing cases of commercial vehicles, such as vans and utes, being broken into and targeted for their tools.

"The majority of these incidents have involved vehicles parked in driveways and on the side of the road at night," Inspector Smith said. 

He said there are also increasing reports of materials being stolen from building sites and is urging tradies to be vigilant. 

"This type of offending is spread across the region, but there has been a significant number reported in Mount Maunganui, Papamoa Beach and Tauranga Central.

"Construction sites are a target as they often contain high-value items such as machinery, tools, copper, and other building materials, which are desirable to thieves and easy to on-sell.

"Police are urging builders, project managers and contractors to be vigilant and take steps to reduce the opportunity for offenders to target construction sites."

Smith said security around construction sites is essential including fencing, good lighting, CCTV and quality locks. 

"Our advice to any company with valuable tools and equipment is to make sure the building site is completely packed up at the end of the day, and all desirable items have been secured.

"Do not leave anything valuable in unattended vehicles that aren’t kept in secure premises overnight and at weekends.

"It’s a good idea to record the serial number of your tools, mark them in a specific way, and take photos, so you have a record of what is yours."

Smith is also urging tradies to engrave personal tools with their driver's licence number which will make it more likely the tools will be recovered if they are stolen. 

He said police are actively patrolling and working with the communities in the areas.

Anyone who sees any criminal or suspicious activity should call 111 straight away.

"The sooner we know about it, the better chance we have of catching the offenders and preventing further crimes," Smith said. 

Anyone with information related to burglaries in the Tauranga area can contact Police on 105.

Alternatively, information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.