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Crime wave leaves tradespeople at risk of losing customers

Crime wave leaves tradespeople at risk of losing customers

by Kim Latham - 14 March 2019


Over half of UK builders (51%) have had their tools stolen, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), leaving tradesmen at risk of losing their customers and subsequently their business.

Of builders that have been victim to van tool theft, around 46% had their side panel or door broken, while 23% had windows smashed and doors opened from their dashboards in what appears to be a wave of crime that could potentially result in a loss of income to sole traders and small businesses.

“Tools are being stolen from vans and direct from construction sites, with some builders even being assaulted by would-be thieves. The impact of this on the nation’s smaller building firms is particularly disruptive. Not only is there a high cost in time and money to replace these expensive tools, and to fix the damage caused, but without the right tools, firms are simply unable to work.

This is leading construction firms to be vulnerable at a time when other factors, such as skills shortages, and material prices rises, are already causing the sector a headache,” said Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB.


There are several ways to protect and limit tool theft including:

  • Lock your van – invest in a security device and make sure to lock all doors and windows
  • Park in a well-lit area close to your home
  • Protect the goods or materials in your van – providing your customers with more reassurance
  • Install CCTV and advertise its use
  • Make sure your work tools are fully insured
  • Take photographs of all tools in case you need to make an insurance claim

Securing your property is becoming ever more important as a van is broken into every 23 minutes in the UK – catapulting the rate of tool theft up by over 30% compared to last year, according to Facts Magazine.

Police figures further estimate that this figure has rocketed by nearly two thirds in two years. In 2014/15, there was a staggering 14,063 reported tool thefts, from which this number rose to 22,749 in the year 2016/17.

With tool theft appearing to become more and more prevalent, tradespeople without adequate van and tools insurance risk losing customers and suffering financial loss to business.

Products to help you protect your tools:

  • SelectaDNA Tools & Equipment Kit – this innovative company provides a DNA forensic property marking kit designed for tools and equipment that are sure to deter thieves.
  • Western Security Systems – If you need an alarm system to protect your parking lot, who better than Western Security Systems who will fit CCTV systems to keep thieves out.
  • Data Tag Security – specialising in security systems for power tools, the specially designed Datatag labels contain a unique identification number and QR code, and they also warn off any potential thieves that the tool is protected. They are both attractive and impossible to remove without damage.
  • Amazon – Mark your tools with a UV security pen from Amazon.
  • Dewalt – offers Bluetooth batteries that will alert you if your tools go out of range. These batteries can be remotely deactivated.

Disclaimer: The advice provided here are our own interpretations and opinions. We have tried to simplify the main points to create this article and the information provided is for general informational purposes only. While we try to keep the information up-to-date and correct, there are no representations or warranties, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services, or related graphics contained in this article for any purpose. Any use of this information is at your own risk.