AN organised gang has stolen thousands of pounds of power tools by targeting vans across Segensworth and Park Gate, police believe.

Now officers are stepping up their efforts to catch the thieves, who they think are stealing the goods to sell on.

Police are warning tradesmen to be on their guard following the thefts, which have happened regularly, mostly on weekday mornings, since the middle of October.

PC Barbara Hamilton said: "We encourage people not to leave valuables in their vehicles. Thousands of pounds of equipment has been stolen. Please do not give those responsible a market for their goods. If you know someone who is selling power tools in suspicious circumstances, do not buy them, call the police."

Vans parked at the Makro store in Segensworth West were targeted on October 13 and 27, and again on November 3, and Hilti branded power tools and a power generator worth £1,500 were among the items stolen.

On October 14, a Ford Transit van parked at the Travel Inn hotel in Southampton Road, Park Gate, was broken into. Jigsaws, drills and a chopsaw worth £950 were stolen, despite the vehicle being alarmed.

A van was broken into in the Argos car park in Southampton Road on October 16. A door was forced and thieves made off with £1,900 of tools including a Dewalt drill and Makita chopsaw.

Vans parked at the B&Q store in Southampton Road, Park Gate, were then targeted on two consecutive days.

Anyone with information should call PC Hamilton at Gosport police on 0845 045 4545 or the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.