Over the past few weeks van drivers have been warned that there have been a growing number of thefts, especially of parcel vans containing packages for Christmas. However, van drivers now have a new concern, especially across Sussex where thieves are stealing exhausts from vans that are parked outside owner’s houses.
Self-employed tradesmen are being left with bills of thousands of pounds due to the fact that their exhausts are being ripped off from underneath their vehicles. Those that are without van insurance are finding it difficult to come up with the cash to pay for the repairs – especially as without their vehicles they cannot run their businesses. Paul Barnard, of Barnard Flooring, said “My van’s my office. Since it’s happened I’ve been turning down jobs and I’ve had to hire a van so I can get to those already booked. It’s been an absolute nightmare to be honest. I’m not going to get the van back until the New Year and people want things done before Christmas. It’s going to cost £4,000 to repair. While I can claim that back on insurance, it’s costing me nearly £1,000 in my no claims bonus and VAT.”
Sussex police have confirmed that throughout December there have already been three separate reports of thefts of Mercedes Sprinter vans in just one road – Auckland Drive – in Beavendean, Brighton. Those that steal the exhausts aim to sell the catalytic converters, which are attached to the exhausts and convert toxic waste products of combustion into less harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, police have so far not found those responsible for the thefts, and have released a statement saying “Police enquiries have been made in Auckland Drive, Brighton, but the exhausts have not been recovered and there have been no arrests.”
For those that own vans and depend on them for their business, it is important to check whether your van insurance covers theft, especially of expensive parts such as exhausts. Furthermore, make sure your van in equipped with alarms, and if you do become a victim of theft make sure you report it to your insurance provider and the police immediately.