Don’t be a fool, lock up your tools.

That’s the message from Wyndham police after 1233 tools valued at more than $935,000 were stolen across the city in the 12 months to September 30, 2018.

That’s a 26.7 per cent jump in offences from the 12 months prior (from 288 to 365 offences), according to the Crime Statistics Agency.

Werribee (103 offences), Hoppers Crossing (58 offences), and Point Cook (47) were tool theft hot spots in 2018.

Wyndham Police Acting Inspector Jason Templar said offenders were targeting ute hard tops, canopies and metal tool boxes parked along residential streets or at work sites and stealing unsecured tools that could be quickly sold for cash online or at second-hand dealers.

“These crimes are often opportunistic in nature, with thieves targeting utes or trailers and stealing anything from hammers to expensive power tools,” Acting Inspector Templar said.

“We know offenders often target tradespeople’s trailers and cars because they carry expensive tools and equipment and can be left unlocked for ease of access.

“The cost and inconvenience for an individual when the tools vital to their trade are stolen is significant. We know these offences can have a real flow-on effect.”

Acting Inspector Templar said the rise in tool theft corresponded with an overall rise in theft from motor vehicles.

He called on tradies to keep their cars locked at all times, even at work; park their cars in a garage or driveway overnight; secure trailers so they can’t be broken into or removed; alarm tool boxes; and engrave or mark tools for easy identification – the letter V followed by your Victorian licence number is recommended.

According to a post on the Wyndham Eyewatch Facebook page, nearly $50 million of tools were reported stolen from vehicles across Victoria last year.