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How to stamp out tool theft – as told by tradespeople

clock 4 months ago
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Tool theft is rife amongst tradespeople. Almost £57,000 of tools were stolen every day in 2020, according to data from the Metropolitan Police.

We constantly hear from tradespeople about their experiences with tool and van theft, and how very little is being done to prevent it.

“I have had my van broken into twice this month and probably 3 grand worth of tools stolen.”

– Jack Cowley, Carpenter

“The first time it happened was in a pub car park. We pulled in to have a pint after work and they pried open the side of the van, in full view of the CCTV and everything.”

– Royston Montague, Joiner

Although the monetary value of stolen tools can amount to a few thousand pounds, the loss suffered is a much bigger picture, with many unable to work until they get their tools back.

 Why does this keep happening?

Although some manufacturers offer a range of additional security measures for their vans, the tradespeople we’ve spoken to revealed that thieves are getting around this, and taking more and more brutal measures to steal tools.

“They snipped a little hole, got a screwdriver, and flipped the latch open, and it unlocked all the deadlocking.”

– Jack Cowley, Carpenter

“I’ve got an older van, and the doors on that seem to be a lot more robust than some of the newer ones. The locks seem to be very susceptible to drilling…”

– Jake Johnston, Carpenter

In addition, many tradespeople seem frustrated with the leniency and infrequency of government punishments for tool and van thieves.

“I think for any crime there needs to be a deterrent, and the government don’t do enough, and the police certainly don’t do enough. When something happens, the punishments don’t fit the crime.”

– Robert Wright, Invictus Solutions

 How can you protect yourself?

More needs to be done to protect tradespeople from getting their tools stolen.

There are some measures that can be taken to reduce the risks, including bringing tools inside at night, adding extra locks, and marking tools. It’s also important to check insurance documents and keep hold of as many receipts as you can. Some merchants will offer to email you a receipt, which can be a good option.

However, as an industry, we need to come together to stamp out tool theft once and for all.

“I’ve heard of people seeing tools in Cash Converters with names on them, and unless you can prove it’s your tool, they won’t give it back to you.”

– Royston Montague, Joiner

Have you had your tools stolen? Let us know your thoughts on what should be done to stop tool and van theft from happening.
Join our tool and van theft On The Tools Facebook group and share your experiences.
Watch our Talking Trade episode on tool theft here.
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