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.
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