Van break-ins and tool theft are still rife in the U.K, and it could be down to a universal ‘skeleton key’.
In a recent investigation conducted by BBC 5 Live, U.K police forces were asked to share their data on tool theft reports. They found that in 2016/2017 there were 22,749 tool thefts, that’s an increase of two-thirds compared to the 14,063 tool thefts in 2014/2015.
Further reports also claim that thieves break into a van to steal tools every 23 minutes in the U.K with Tradespeople calling the rise in theft an “epidemic” that is affecting businesses and destroying livelihoods.
It has now become common knowledge that a skeleton key that can be bought for as little as £20 online may be to blame for the rise in van break-ins.
Skeleton keys are essentially universal keys that can enable criminals to break into popular vehicle make and models. The keys are designed to be used by locksmiths and act as a tool for accessing vans that owners may have lost keys to. However, it seems that due to their low price and availability online, thieves are having a field day using them to enter multiple vehicles a week.
Steffan George from the Master Locksmiths Association said: “These are legitimate locksmiths tools, but they shouldn’t be available to everyone. We would welcome a restriction of their sale.”
Tradespeople are also blaming the rise in thefts down to a method that has become known as “peel and steal”. This is where criminals use their body weight to press on the van, then lift open the top of the side door.
What can you do to prevent tool theft?
If you’re worried about your vehicle being the target of thieves, there are many van security devices available to add additional levels of security to the vehicle.
A popular one is a Stoplock which is usually fitted to the rear doors of the vehicle making it much harder for thieves to open the doors as the device links the two doors together making it very difficult to pry them open with a bar – a common break-in method. The Stoplock is perfect for vans that already have a weak lock mechanism as it acts as an additional security measure on top of the standard lock functionality.
Consider Tool Insurance
Unfortunately, there will be cases where break-ins still occur, and tools are stolen. This can have a detrimental effect on the vehicle owner and affect their business. Tools play a vital role for tradespeople and mechanics, and without them, they are unable to continue doing jobs for customers. In many cases, the tools are very expensive to repair and replace, and the subsequent damage to the vehicle is also costly to repair. As well as the upfront costs, there can also be a delay of waiting for your tools to be fixed or replaced meaning you may be forced to turn away business. Less business = less income.
Tool theft is an expensive inconvenience for van owners. However, they could consider tool insurance.
Tool insurance is designed to protect business owners in the event of theft, loss or damage to the tools you own and use in your business.
Tool insurance can provide your business with essential protection for the tools you use in your business to get jobs done and can replace the tools so that you can continue doing the work you need to do.
Some policies also cover you for compensation if additional hire is needed due to delays in repairing or replacing your lost or damaged tools.
At constructaquote.com, we have a Contractors All Risk policy which is designed to protect businesses against all such risks and more besides.