WATCH: Masked men caught on video breaking into vans in late-night robbery
- Credit: submitted
Three masked thieves have been caught on camera breaking into vans in the middle of the night before running off with thousands of pounds worth of equipment.
Police said there has been a significant rise in thefts from vehicles this week after another van was targeted by balaclava-clad men in Taverham.
The getaway car they had been using was left abandoned and is believed to have been stolen from Staffordshire.
At around 1.30am on Thursday, three masked men are seen on video pulling up into a car park at Woodhill Rise, Norwich.
They break into two parked vans and steal a number of electrical equipment before driving off five minutes later.
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Late on Wednesday night, another van was targeted in Taverham by men wearing balaclavas. The van owner said they had drilled into the back doors and stole £3,000 worth of equipment.
Norfolk police said additional patrols were in place which eventually led officers to the offenders' car which is being examined for evidence.
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A police spokesman said: 'This week has seen a significant increase in thefts from motor vehicles, particularly those containing tools in the urban areas of Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk. This sudden increase has been overnight from Wednesday into Thursday and last night (April 25).
'As a result, additional patrols and intelligence work has been undertaken with offenders being disturbed in the early hours of this morning before making off from the scene, leaving behind the vehicle they were using.
'This vehicle is currently being forensically investigated but what we can confirm is that it had been using false plates and early enquiries suggest it had been stolen from a location in Staffordshire. A large quantity of tools were also recovered.'
The man who captured the video in Woodhill Rise, who did not want to be named, said the area gets very dark after the nearby street light switches off at around 1am.
He added: 'I am sure light would make this place more secure.
'It is scary to go outside in the night. It's like someone has violated your space.'
Norfolk County Council said part night lighting has saved more than £3m in energy costs, adding: 'Reports from Norfolk police and national studies confirm that there has been no significant impact on crime and safety in areas where part night lighting has been introduced.
'We do continue to monitor the situation and work closely with the local police if any adjustments are required.'