Who are you?
My name is Ray Taylor. I’m an electrician from Wolverhampton. I became a bit of a media sensation because I put this electric shocker on my van to deter thieves.
How did your tools get stolen?
My van got broken into twice. The first time it happened, I had about £2,000 worth of tools stolen. They took all the tools and they took the car, as well.
The second time it happened, I’d just had some new DeWalt stuff: drills and jigsaws. They were brand new; I’d never used the jigsaw. I was gutted. Angry.
How did you react when you found out?
I walked out to my van in the morning, having just gotten off the phone with a friend who had his van done over by thieves. Little did I know, my van had been done over, too.
It’s a horrible feeling. Horrible because you have to go to work and borrow tools from people. You’ve got no gear yourself, so you have to build it all up again from scratch.
The annoying part is that the thieves took my toolbag which takes about fifteen years to get together, with all my bits in there. You can buy the drills over the counter, but it makes you angry that you have to buy them again. That bag took fifteen years to get together; all the little bits and things I use, they took everything and they cleaned me out.
What did you do to stop tool theft?
The last attempt on my van, there’s been three this year. The alarm was blazing, but they didn’t run off, they decided to open the back door and steal a drill. So, he got that. I thought I needed a way to protect the back door, so I incorporated the shocker into my alarm system.
The electric shocker is just an addition to an alarm that I designed to protect the vulnerable areas of the van because people are using crowbars in vulnerable spots on the van.
It doesn’t go off on bonfire night, you know. If there was a bang, it wouldn’t go off. If you hear my alarm go off, it means somebody’s in your van. That’s how good it is.
What has the reaction been like?
I have had a visit from the police. I have to meet the Chief or Commissioner and we’re going to arrange a date to speak. So, we’ll see what he’s got to say.
But, this story has been a sensation… It will be a bigger sensation if they make me take it off. If they tell me to take it off, that’s going to hit the headlines because people are going to be really angry because I’m trying to protect my van. I’m trying to protect fellow tradespeople- all those tradespeople out there who are getting their tools robbed and having their doors bent open and peeled.
It makes me angry to think that the police are going to give me a visit about this, but not give me a visit when I’ve phoned them about my van being broken into and all my tools robbed.
What do you think happened to your tools?
The people that took my tools are thieving scum. They’re just thieving scum who probably made a thousand pounds a week selling my tools, so they can buy whatever they buy with it.
Tradespeople know this; they know their tools. They’re not being sold in the pub anymore like they used to, they’re being shipped away. Because it’s on a massive scale, now. It’s epidemic proportions.
They’re taking thousands and thousands of pounds every day peeling doors and they know what they’re doing. They just go up there, fold a van, climb in and take all the gear and that’s it.
Now, all the van is covered and if anybody tries to break into it now, they’re going to have a shock!