AN EPIDEMIC of tools thefts is putting builders across Dorset out of business, according to one victim.

Nick Rees said he lost £14,000 worth of tools last year and said more should be done to trace and prosecute offenders.

Police have revealed there were a total of 415 offences of tools theft in 2019 and 419 the year before.

Mr Rees runs Doveshill Construction, which operates across the east of the county.

He spoke out after hearing that other companies have folded as a result of theft.

He said "Thieves are breaking into vans as well as building sites and stealing thousands of pounds worth of tools.

"I know of one person who is unable to work as a result and others are having trouble getting insurance."

He said he has reported incidents to police but little has been done.

"I don't really blame the police because I know they are stretched but it has gone too far.

"People are selling tools online and it is obvious they are stolen. Something should be done to trace them."

Mr Rees said he lost £10,000 worth of tools to raiders who used a crowbar to break into a reinforced steel container at a building site in Sopley two months ago.

He added: "There were tyre marks and footprints at the scene but the police still didn't send anyone out to investigate.

"It is rife - this is being done by organised groups of criminals who know they won't be caught."

He said thieves are targeting high value power tools and petrol-operated tools such as disc cutters and drills.

A spokeswoman for Dorset Police said: "Residents are advised to be vigilant and reminded of the importance of security marking high value tools and keeping them securely locked away when unattended.

"We recognise the impact that this type of incident can have on an individual or business. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police using 101. If a crime is in progress or life is in danger, please dial 999."

She said further crime prevention advice is available at