Police have appealed for witnesses and for anyone with information to come forward after an epidemic of tool thefts from work vans in Ilfracombe and Bideford.

The spate of crimes happened between September 19 and 24 at 19 locations across both towns.

The incidents in Bideford happened overnight between those dates, with the streets affected and their individual crimes numbers as follows: Copps Close (CR/85303/19), Glenfield Road (CR/85916/19), Rockmount Crescent (CR/86285/19), Acacia Close (CR/85655/19), Northam Road (CR/85571/19), Grenville Estate (CR/86002/19), Pynes Walk (CR/85819/19), Leigh Road (CR/85735/19) and Laurel Drive (CR/86869/19).

There were a further 10 incidents in Ilfracombe overnight between September 21-22 with the following streets affected: Marlborough Road (CR/86063/19), Watermouth Road (CR/86043/19), Hillsborough Park Road (CR/86818/19), Chambercombe Road (CR/85980/19) and Highfield Road (CR/86476/19).

There were also incidents at Montpelier Road (CR/85999/19), Montpelier Terrace (CR/85998/19), Beach Road Hele (CR/86264/19) and Furze Hill Road (CR/85938/19).

Police said in both towns power tools, cash and gardening equipment were taken.

A shed burglary which may be linked to the same series took place in the early hours of September 22 in Horne Road in Ilfracombe (CR/86090/19). Once again, power tools were taken.

Officers are reminding the public and trades people not to leave valuables or tools in vehicles - thieves know all of the hiding places.

They are also advising van owners to park their vehicles in a garage or on a driveway if at all possible.

All of the vehicles were work vans and at least seven of those were Ford Transits.

There have been numerous social media posts of discarded power tool boxes discovered in the surrounding areas.

Police have said if you own a Ford Transit or Tourneo Customs van, built between March 28, 2012 and July 1, 2017, a free Ford Security Fix may be available.

Contact your local Ford van dealership to check if your vehicle is eligible.

More advice on keeping your vehicle safe from thieves can be found at www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/.

Anyone with information on any of the above incidents is asked to contact police by emailing 101@dc.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting the relevant crime number.

Information can also be passed anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or reporting online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org .