POLICE are warning trades people against leaving tools in their vehicles overnight following a spate of thefts in the North Craven area.

Tools valued at around £5,200 have been stolen in a series of break-ins that happened overnight over last weekend. Police are connecting the thefts to the theft of a Toyota Landcruiser that went missing from Low Bentham and was then involved in a police chase in Lancashire.

Police say a white Renault Kangoo van parked on Lowkber Lane, Cold Cotes, was broken into sometime overnight on Sunday (February 4) and Monday (February 5). Thieves removed the front passenger door lock to get into the van, but nothing had been left in the vehicle overnight, and they left, empty handed.

Sometime the same night, around £1,200 of power tools were taken from a Vauxhall Vivaro van parked at New Village, Ingleton.

Again, overnight on Saturday and Sunday, power tools to the value of £4,000 were taken from a can parked in a driveway at Clapham Road, High Bentham. On that occasion, police say the front passenger side window was smashed and the side sliding door was ripped off.

A police spokesperson said: "We believe that these incidents are linked to the theft of an old blue Toyota Landcruiser parked on a driveway on Clapham Road, High Bentham which occurred on Monday (February 5) between 1am and 2.30am.

"The stolen vehicle was sighted near Claughton by a Lancashire Police unit. It was in convoy with a dark coloured Audi on cloned plates. They were pursued and the offenders abandoned the Toyota on a bridge on Low Road near Halton Green and Crook of Lune.

"The Toyota was left in a position where it was completely blocking the bridge. The occupants of the stolen vehicle then jumped into the Audi which made off from the officer who was unable to follow."

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on the non emergency 101 number, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police ask that the following reference numbers are used: 12240021788 (Renault Kangoo); 12240021822 (Vauxhall Vivaro); 12240021634 (theft of Landcruiser/police chase); 12240021137 (theft of tools from van in Clapham Road).