CALLOUS thieves took off with a man’s work van and equipment during the night, stealing at least £8,000 worth of his belongings.

The man, who is from Benfleet, woke to find that his 2014 white Mercedes Sprinter had been taken from Rayleigh Road, along with 35 years’ worth of his tools, including numerous cordless power tools, ladders, and a scaffold tower.

The 60-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I was in complete shock. They took at least £8,000 worth, including my van and its contents.

“What’s worse is, I have only just had £3,000 worth of work done to the van, including new injectors, the front suspension re-done, a new filter, so it’s so frustrating for me.

“I can’t believe anyone would do this, I can’t work now, I used the van every day. Now I’ve got to start completely from scratch which is really hard, I’ve been using some of these tools since I started doing roofing in 1982.

“It’s really devastating and it’s going to cost so much money to replace all the tools I lost, let alone the van.

“You work so hard for something to have it just taken away.”

The owner is hoping to warn other residents who own keyless vehicles to stay vigilant and alert. He continued: “Now I put the key fob in a pouch at night. This was a keyless van that was taken, they didn’t even have to gain entry into my house to get it and I know that because I still have both sets of keys. They have devices where they can get a signal from the key.

“It’s such an invasion of privacy and is extremely upsetting.

“I want to make anyone with a keyless vehicle aware of the dangers, it’s quite frightening that someone can steal your belongings like this.

“I thought this van would see me through to retirement.”

Essex Police are appealing for information, and are asking anyone who may have witnessed the theft or who may have CCTV to contact them on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/99068/19.

Essex Police advise that to keep keyless vehicles secure drivers should place their keys in a Faraday Bag to block the signal.