THE theft of valuable work tools from a van parked on his drive has left a self-employed man issuing a warning to others in Wiltshire.

Garden lawn specialist Patrick Beck, 71, was left shaken and emotional after a thief broke into into his van at his home in Great Somerford on Friday night (April 5).

“It was an invasion of privacy,” he said, “and it disrupts my business and causes anxiety. It is certainly not a victimless crime as it shakes you up.”

Police were called but they did not come out to investigate the crime with a forensics team, just giving him a crime number for his insurers.

Mr Beck said he understood the constraints the police operate under with the cutbacks and feels it reflects the current times when minor crimes are not properly investigated.

“They just took the big tools, the aerator and the scarifier, and left other things.” he said. “The van was parked on my drive which I share with a neighbour and no-one heard a thing.

“It’s a busy time in my year and although I’m trying to hire replacement equipment, it is going to affect my customers.”

As a sole trader with the TruGreen lawncare franchise in Chippenham Mr Beck faces a bill of around £3,000 to replace the equipment, which he had had since he set up the business 12 years ago.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “We have received a report of a theft from a vehicle, which happened in Great Somerford, overnight between 5 April and 6 April 2019.

“A van was broken into an high-value tools stolen from inside.Unfortunately, at this stage we have no viable lines of enquiry, as there is no CCTV and no witnesses. However, that does not mean we don’t appreciate the inconvenience and frustration that these types of offences cause for victims.

“We are sure the public understands and appreciates that we will always try to respond appropriately and proportionately to the crime committed - taking into account the nature of the incident and the resources available at that time. Our priority is responding to emergencies and reports of crimes in progress.”