CARPENTER Brian Baxter lost £1000 worth of saws and drills when his van was broken into while it was parked in a lay-by near his home in Marrowbrook Lane, Cove, on Sunday night.

But when Mr Baxter went to report the theft at Farnborough Police Station on Monday, he was told there was no one available to fingerprint his van.

The angry chippy told the Star: "They had been through the glove box, so there was every chance there would have been prints -if I had been going two mph over the speed limit on the Farnborough Road I bet there would have been policemen around!"

A Farnborough Police spokesman said that on Monday a trained fingerprint taker had been called away to a firearms incident in the south of the county and that only two probationary constables remained on duty -neither of whom were trained.

"It was purely a resource problem," he said. "Our aim is to train every officer to take fingerprints and they are taken in 95 per cent of these cases."

Brian's was one of four similar cases on Sunday night with tools being taken in Cove Road and Southwood Road and two laptop computers disappearing in Cody Road.