A devastated couple say they can no longer afford to buy their first home after crooks stole almost £9,000 worth of power tools from a van.

Crooks targeted the Vauxhall Astra, belonging to electrician Paul Galinis, 29, in Mayland in the early hours of Saturday, April 13.

Paul, who lives there with partner Lorna Asher and her parents said the total value of the tools stolen was £8,700.

He said: “I don’t know exactly what happened. My van window was smashed through on the passenger side.

“They tried to pop the locks on the passenger side door

“They then drilled through the back of my van to get in and remove the tools.”

CCTV footage from a neighbour’s home showed a man holding a torch shining its light into another vehicle.

Paul, who runs his own business, arrived at his van the following morning to find shattered glass scattered across the street and inside the van.

The couple were about to take out a mortgage to buy their first home.

However, the huge cost incurred by the break-in means they now have no chance of moving out for some time.

Paul said he was “frustrated and heartbroken” that they have lost the chance of buying a home of their own.

He added: “We are in the middle of going through everything to look for a house at the moment.

“It is heartbreaking, we just feel let down.”

The window of the van had to be replaced and CCTV cameras are now set to be fitted at the house.

Paul added: “There are not enough police in this village and it is happening too regularly here.

“There are so many chancers around here who know they can get away with it.

“I think the community is going to call a meeting about the issue.

“Everyone is going to take action into their own hands to protect themselves if something isn’t done.”

A police spokesman said: “We are investigating after tools worth a four-figure sum were stolen from a van in Bramley Way, Mayland, between 7.30pm on April 12 and 10.30am on April 13.

“If you saw or heard anything, have any CCTV or dash cam footage, or have any other information please call us on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/57699/19 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

The spokesman added: “We also received a report that another van had been damaged in Bramley Way between 9.30pm on April 12 and 8am on April 13 but it is not believed anything was taken from inside.

“If you have any information please call 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/57832/19.”