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When Michael Hughes heard about the regularity of van break-ins around Abergavenny, he decided to do something about it and set up Abergavenny & District Van Watch. We caught up with Michael to find out more…

I’m a regular visitor of the Facebook Page ‘Abergavenny Voice’ and I kept noticing that a lot of people were having van break-ins, which seemed to become a regular pattern. As a van owner myself, I became concerned.

Abergavenny Police said via Twitter that all leads regarding van break-ins were being followed up, but I felt this wasn’t enough and told them so.  As a result, the Police offered to do a security check on my van for me, which I accepted. Two officers visited and I demonstrated to them the difficulties I faced in getting my tools in and out of the van every day, without compromising its security. They agreed this was a tricky one. After discussions with PC Hollings about how best to spread awareness to other van owning tradespeople and business owners, he suggested that setting up a community group might be the way forward, and so Abergavenny & District Van Watch was born.

With the assistance of both Matt Lane, a local DJ who was recently a victim of theft when his DJ equipment was stolen, and Chris Copner, we set up a Facebook Page for the group. The group is private, so that those who are not members cannot see discussions and posts. Members need to request to join the group, identify themselves and have a group member verify this in order to ensure that security and privacy isn’t compromised in any way.

In setting up Van Watch, we hope to be able to keep an eye out for other’s vans, inform the group about any suspicious activity and also bring security experts on board so they can provide help and advice. I am active on the group page every day and hope that we can work together as a team and community to combat theft and to assist the police who are also taking an active role in monitoring our Facebook page.

The group is still in its infancy, but we hope to grow as time goes on and to supply members with Van Watch stickers and perhaps even set up live CCTV streams. If you’re a van owner, do consider joining our Van Watch group. You can find us on Facebook by searching for ‘Abergavenny and District Van Watch’ or contacting me on 07966829203

Michael  Hughes

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