POLICE have renewed warnings about opportunistic criminals targeting tradies.
They're warning tools are increasingly the target of opportunistic criminals looking for easy money.
Police have reported a noticeable increase in theft of power tools in the region, particularly from house construction sites, while locks and fences have proved no barrier.
Entire trailers and vehicles have been stolen where tools were the target in recent months.
Bendigo Police Acting Sergeant Grant Thompson said the value and ease of access made them a popular target.
"We find most tools are stolen from construction sites, or houses under construction. Particularly houses in the partial lock-up stage or before that, when they are easily accessible," he said.
"The only way to avoid this is to take the tool home with you.
"Tradies might also spray small bits of colour onto their tools to make them unique. Another way to make them unique is to engrave them with your name."
Senior Sergeant Thompson said the items could be sold informally in pub situations or on buy, swap, sell websites.
Solec Electrical had up to $7000 worth of tools stolen in two separate incidents at its Eaglehawk yard, with the latest incident two weeks ago.
Company director Luke Solomano said the thieves cut through a fence and broke a lock on a shipping container to get to the tools several months ago.
"They had another go two weeks ago but couldn't access the container, so instead they've smashed in one of our vehicles and stolen items that way," he said.
"I have heard a number of rumours that tradesmen are being targeted, but they could just be rumours."
Mr Solomano said engravings were easy to grind off metal tools.
Bridgewater plumber Dave Harrison had a bag full of Makita tools stolen valued at up to $2000, with a number later recovered in Maryborough.
He said the issue had become a major concern in the tradesmen community.
"Even your toolboxes can be worth a bit. A lot of people have them screwed down onto their trailer," he said.
"I mark my tools with different bits of paint now."
North Bendigo cabinet maker Jason Rule had about $5000 worth of tools go when his 1968 Ford XT ute was stolen from his Holmes Road house in July.
Anyone with information about the thefts are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.