DARING thieves are swooping on vans parked outside Cork city B&Bs and hotels to steal expensive tools.
There have been between 15 and 20 incidents of tool thefts in the city in the past three weeks.
Gardai said that a number of different groups are believed to be behind the raids, with criminals targeting building sites and locations where builders are staying during their working week.
The spate of thefts is believed to be linked to the rise in the economy and the renewed growth in construction.
One person was arrested and items were recovered, but thefts are continuing to occur.
Most of the tools being stolen are worth in the region of €1,000 and are being stolen for resale on the black market.
Gardai are now warning construction workers staying in hotels or b&bs to keep their tools in their room overnight if possible.
They are also advising workers to use an engraving kit to put an identifying mark on tools and machinery, to make them identifiable if they are recovered after being stolen.
A garda spokesman said: “Tools are extremely valuable possessions and when stolen, can impact hugely on small businesses. An Garda Siochana would like to remind all van owners to remove their tools from the vehicle when it is left unattended for long periods of time and overnight.”
Anyone who is offered tools for sale in unusual circumstances is asked to contact the gardaí.