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Police say huge problem with Tool Theft in the trade industry

Rhino Trade Insurance 09 May 2023

With over 40,000 instances in 2022, an LBC investigation has shown the appalling scale of tool theft in England and Wales. 

As an avid trade insurance provider, we wanted to share the news from the data and also show how you can easily protect your trade business from being the victim of tool theft. On top, we'll share some best practices for avoiding tool theft in your area. 

The headline stats around tool theft in the UK

  • In 2022, there were well over 40,000 incidents of tool theft.
  • On average, 100 tools are stolen daily from homes, garages, and vehicles in England and Wales, usually from sole traders and independent tradespeople.
  • A total of 19,835 occurrences of tool theft, or 48% of all cases, occurred in London. Other "hot spot" locations with over 800 cases included Essex, West Yorkshire, the West Midlands, and Gwent.
  • In Surrey, Northumbria, and Yorkshire, the criminal charge ratio for some police forces is as low as 2%, while in Merseyside and Northamptonshire, it is as low as 7%. 
  • Tradespeople are estimated to lose a total of £100 million in stolen gear during a difficult cost-of-living crisis.

The figures in more detail

According to research by the UK's largest online construction community, On The Tools, four out of five tradesmen and women have suffered tool theft. Essential items are frequently taken from the vans, garages, and sometimes homes and office units of independent contractors in the trades.  

Overall, there were well over 40,000 cases of tool theft reported in 2022. According to statistics from 25 of the 45 territorial police departments in the UK, at least 110 tools are taken every day.  

With nearly half of all cases reported in the Capital, London is particularly impacted by the astonishing volume of crime. Additionally, unusually high case counts were reported in Gwent, West Yorkshire, Essex, and other places last year.   

According to data from On The Tools, tool theft costs the typical tradesperson £4,470.50 in equipment. LBC's study reveals that during a cost of living crisis, tradespeople may be losing over £100 million in tools, which is shocking!

Wondering what some of the top stolen tools are

What is being done?

LBC's statistics were deemed "devastating for tradespeople" by Andy Trotter, a former senior assistant commissioner with the Metropolitan Police. He was quoted as saying:

"The impact is enormous, especially when people are going through a very difficult economic time," he continued. "The police have a huge challenge to solve."

Mr Trotter also commented on the low charge rate by saying, "It's a symptom of extraordinarily poor detection rates across the board... Resources have been drained from the police - a sorry state of affairs indeed.

On top, a representative of the National Police Chiefs Council told LBC that "we recognise how intrusive and traumatic it is to have your items stolen, or to have a van broken into, and that tool theft frequently affects the victim's ability to work."  

"Because there are limited forensic opportunities, tool theft investigations are challenging. We will keep up our efforts to stop tool theft, and we encourage victims to contact the police."

How you can protect yourself

Your trade tools make or break your livelihood. Without them, you couldn't do your work and would lose out on precious income! No matter the difficulties, if someone wants to steal your property, they will probably do their best to make it happen. Have no fear; there are some ways to prevent your tools from being stolen: 

  • Keep your tools in secure areas.
  • Park your van in a safe parking spot.
  • Install the following devices on your work vehicle: An immobiliser, a loud alarm, a lockable toolbox, and deadlocks.
  • Clearly mark your tools and gadgets so they are easily identifiable if a police report is filed and you have a chance to identify them. 

For a more detailed approach to best-preventing tool theft as a tradesperson, read our helpful blog on how to recover your tools

Why you should consider Tool Insurance 

Tool Insurance with Rhino Trade Insurance offers an affordable way to protect your vital weapons! Our tailored policies can protect you if your tools are stolen or damaged. Adding this cover to your insurance policy has plenty of advantages:

  • If you currently hold Public Liability cover with us, you can easily add our tool cover to your policy. 
  • You can choose to cover your tools from £500 to £10,000.
  • Even if your whole vehicle is stolen, your tools are still covered. 
  • An added bonus? If specific security requirements are met, we can provide overnight storage protection for your tools!
  • As an insurance provider that prides itself on focusing 100% of its efforts on the trade industry, we are proud to offer cover up to 40% cheaper than other industry competitors!

Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?

As an insurer specialising exclusively in the trades, our team of knowledgeable trade insurance professionals can offer unrivalled expertise and experience. We customise our insurance to meet the needs of your business, and we're always looking for the best ways to keep our costs low and the quality of our coverage high.

For more information, contact Rhino Trade Insurance at 0116 243 7904 or go to our website to use our handy online quote generator, which makes it simple to get a price in just 60 seconds. 


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