Last edited 28 Jan 2019

Tool theft

Tools-15539 640.jpg

Thieves employing increasingly sophisticated methods are costing UK tradespeople millions of pounds a year as tool theft reaches an all-time high. Criminals are using complex methods such as electronic fob interception and a technique known as 'peel & steal', which has contributed to the rising number of thefts.

Research has uncovered that tool theft is costing tradespeople around £100 million per year, with a single break-in costing the average tradesperson around £14,000 once the cost of replacements and lost-earnings are factored in.

The worst locations for tool theft are:

  1. London
  2. Sheffield
  3. Birmingham
  4. Leicester
  5. Chelmsford
  6. Tunbridge Wells
  7. Bristol
  8. Nottingham
  9. Northampton
  10. Reading

Somewhat unsurprisingly, London led the way as England's tool-theft capital, though the matter is far from a localised issue. Behind London, areas as far and wide as Sheffield, Birmingham, Tunbridge Wells and Nottingham also made the list.

A tradesperson's van is broken into and their tools stolen every 23 minutes across the UK, with as many as 50% of tradespeople having been a victim of a theft at least once.

With the average claim costing victims £1,692, it’s unsurprising that half of tradespeople who’ve experienced tool theft could not work afterwards. Although some people have to take one or two days off, research shows that some people have had to take a fortnight off work, before they could afford to replace the stolen tools.

Sadly, such a trend shows no sign of abating, with the average tool theft claim rising over 15% from 2016 to 2017.

Research into vehicle theft across 43 police forces in England and Wales showed that most cases go unsolved, with as many as 75% of reported thefts being closed without ever finding a suspect.

With such news in mind, tradespeople are advised to take the following precautions to protect their valuable tools.

  • Leave no tools inside a vehicle overnight - tools should be taken indoors and stored in a safe, secure location.
  • Park in a safe location - Security experts recommend parking in well-lit areas with plenty of footfall that are in view of a CCTV camera. Ideally, vans should be parked with side or rear doors up against a wall so that they can't be accessed.
  • Invest in extra security for vehicles - Window grills and tints can serve as an effective deterrent for would-be thieves, while an internal locking system can make breaking in much more difficult.
  • Secure van’s windows - To help keep tools out of eyesight and prevent easy accessibility, secure windows using grills or tints.
  • Keep a note of tool’s serial numbers - If your tool is found after being stolen, it will help determine who it belongs to.

Other suggestions include marking tools and taking out tool insurance to reduce the financial burden of a theft.

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