Calls for tool thieves to face stricter punishment

Calls are being made for criminals to face stricter punishments for robbing tradespeople of their van tools.

The motoring team at Lease Van are calling for offenders to have harsher sentences in hopes of reducing the amount of tool thefts in the UK. Under the Theft Act 1968, a maximum sentence of seven years can be given to someone found guilty of breaking into a van. If the amount stolen totals under £200, the maximum sentence they can face is six months.

However, the problem many van owners face is that not all criminals are caught and convicted, meaning they can be left thousands of pounds out of pocket. Tradespeople also face the chance of uncaught thieves returning and stealing the newly replaced equipment.

Tool thefts have been on the rise over the last few years, with London alone facing a 25% increase, making matters worse for van owners. The experts believe introducing stricter punishment for tool thieves can help to reduce the number of offences committed as harsher sentences may deter them from committing it in the first place.

Tim Alcock, motoring expert at Lease Van, says, “A van is like a second home to tradespeople and having it broken into is a devastating experience as it severely restricts their work routine. Stolen tools can also cost thousands to replace and this can be even worse if there’s damage to the van itself.

“What’s shocking is that if a criminal steals under £200 worth of tools, the maximum sentence they can receive is six months. This is only the maximum, so in a lot of cases, this sentence won’t even be applied.

“While van alarms, CCTV and padlocks can help deter thugs from stealing the tools, it can’t guarantee that the equipment won’t be stolen. Tool thefts have been on the rise in recent years meaning the problem isn’t going away anytime soon. We believe increasing the maximum sentence will make people think twice before breaking into someone’s van and stealing their hard-earned resources.”

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