A wave of tool theft expected over winter – how to protect vehicles

A wave of tool theft expected over winter - how to protect vehicles

Tradespeople are being warned to take extra security measures over the winter to protect the tools they store in their van.

Motoring experts at Lease Van have warned vehicle owners that January is a prime time for criminals to strike and have offered advice on how to protect their equipment.

A Freedom of Information request found that 35,098 tool thefts were reported to the police in 2022 – equal to one every 15 minutes.

An eye-watering £66 million worth of tools was stolen from tradespeople’s vehicles, which are frequently targeted by thieves.

Tool theft is likely to increase in January as thieves look to make extra cash after Christmas. Steps tradespeople should take to protect their tools from thieves include parking in well-lit areas and marking equipment.

Tim Alcock from Lease Van says, “Thieves and burglars see January as the perfect time to take expensive equipment from tradespeople.

“Last year £66 million worth of tools were stolen from tradespeople’s vehicles, and we expect that figure to be just as high this year with the cost-of-living crisis fuelling crime.

“Criminals are well aware that tools and equipment are expensive, so it is important to take extra security measures like storing equipment in an indoor secure location and using warning signs to protect yourself.”

These are Lease Van’s seven tips to protect tools:

  1. Park carefully

Avoid parking in isolated and quiet areas, as this will appeal to thieves. Stick to where there is CCTV in operation. At home, park with the back door against a wall, in sight of a window or a well-lit area to deter thieves.

  1. Additional security 

Consider investing in extra security like deadbolts, alarms and slam locks, making it harder for thieves to break in and act as a deterrent.

  1. Warning signs 

It may seem simple, but making it known that there is CCTV or that tools are not kept in the van or a work site can deter thieves. Thieves like easy targets and the extra risk of being caught will put them off.

  1. Store indoors

When finishing work, take tools out of the van and leave them somewhere more secure, like inside your home or a storage facility.

  1. Mark tools

An effective way to deter theft is to mark tools and equipment with the name of your business, as it can aid their recovery if they are ever sold on and will be easily identifiable to the police.

  1. Tech preventions

For tech-savvy tradespeople, there are several ways to protect tools, including motion-sensing cameras, GPS tracking devices and smart padlocks.

  1. Insurance

Some providers will cover the cost of replacing tools if they’re lost or damaged so the business can keep running if the worst happens.

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