VIDEO: Police issue alert after raids

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POLICE are hunting the gang who stole this pick-up truck before going on a ram-raid spree across the Fylde coast.

And officers today warned business owners to be on their guard as the raiders may strike again.

Police suspect this van was involved in the raids.

Police suspect this van was involved in the raids.

Police launched a major investigation to find the criminals responsible for smashing their way into three businesses across Blackpool after stealing two vans and hot-wiring them to use as battering rams.

Police believe the gang carried out reconnaissance on their targets and had been after power tools during Sunday’s break-ins at Smiths Equipment Hire and Top Gun Airnailers, in South Shore, and the One Stop Hire Shop, in Bispham.

Now they are warning other tradesmen to be on the lookout.

Sgt Russell Farrand from Blackpool Police’s target team is leading the investigation and said: “It’s quite an unusual crime.

Police suspect this van was involved in the raids.

Police suspect this van was involved in the raids.

“When I started 20 years ago we used to get these incidents quite often, but we’ve not had anything like it for quite some time.

“I think these were probably individuals who have gone in to steal power tools and then get rid of them, typically out of the area.

“They have obviously planned it and hatched a plan to steal the vans and pick on these particular units.

“We expect they have done some kind of reconnaissance work and are also talking to the shops to see if they might have anything on their CCTV of these people going in as prospective customers.”

Both vans – a Ford transit stolen from Stopford Avenue in Bispham and a Ford P100 Popular pick-up stolen from Lindsay Court in St Annes – were later found abandoned in Blackpool and police are linking the crimes due to the short time-frame and the similar way they were hot-wired.

The men failed to get away with anything from Smiths, in Clifton Road, and the One Stop Hire shop in Mowbray Drive, where £1,000 of damage was caused, but stole nail guns from the Top Gun Airnailers Unit, Trident Business Centre on Amy Johnson Way.

And Sgt Farrand said there had been a recent spate of power tool thefts across the Fylde coast.

He added: “We’ve had a spate of vans with expensive tools inside being broken into across Lytham, St Annes and Blackpool all the way up to Fleetwood.

“Anybody with an older van should take extra to make sure if there are expensive tools in the van it is left locked or they are removed.”

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