THEFTS from vans have dropped since a spate of crimes in the last quarter of 2017.

The crime was rife in Brighton and Hove from October to December last year, with tradesmen losing thousands of pounds worth of tools as a result.

But figures obtained by The Argus show a drop in the past two months.

In October, there were 37 thefts from vans reported and a further 25 the following month.

The problem became so bad that angry traders called a crunch meeting with police at the Ladies Mile pub in Patcham to see what could be done to tackle it.

Since then, though, there have been significantly fewer incidents.

Figures dipped in December, with just six reported thefts from vehicles.

In January it rose to 26.

Inspector Paul Ransome, of Sussex Police, said: “This type of criminal activity fluctuates from time to time and place to place, usually involving a small number of offenders.

“We can target areas based on intelligence, but also on reports of offences or suspicious activity.

“It is important that the public continue to report any such crimes so that we can have an accurate picture of what is happening and target our resources accordingly.

“Anyone with information is urged to report it online or by calling 101.”

He also advised people to read the force’s crime prevention advice at

Despite the positive news, Brighton trader Nick Benn, who organised the meeting with police, believes there is still a big problem remaining.

He said: “It has got better, but we’re not going to be popping the champagne.

“It’s still happening on a weekly basis.

“The feeling is that it is not worth reporting, though.”

l Two men are to appear in court next month in connection with theft from vans.

John McDonagh, 20, a labourer, and unemployed Michael McDonagh, 26, were arrested on November 7.

They were released under investigation and have been summonsed to appear at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on March 7.

The two, both from London, each face three charges of stealing property from parked vans in Hastings, St Leonards and Eastbourne in November 2017.