Thieves targeting power tools in London

Tool theft has cost tradespeople in London more than £38 million in the last two years, and £17.5 million in 2020 alone, Metropolitan Police data has revealed. New data shows that there were 28,338 tool thefts reported across the nation’s capital from 2019 up to May 2021, with thefts in Barnet (1,917) accounting for nearly 15% of the total and Kingston upon Thames (327) suffering the fewest tool thefts.

The findings, highlighted by London plant hire specialists Herts Tools, come from a freedom of information request and reveals the impact of tool theft on livelihoods, the cost of the crime and the most affected areas in London.

Thieves are 10 times more likely to steal powered hand tools than non-powered hand tools, with 32,067 taken from 2019 to 2021, compared to 2,993 non-powered hand tools. Only 1% of those powered hand tools were recovered, underlining the need to prevent theft in the first place. Building materials were retrieved more than other items, but even they were recovered just 4% of the time.

Year on year, the cost of tool theft is falling: it dropped from £20.7 million in 2019 to £17.5 million in 2020, a decrease of 15%. However, the average cost of tool theft per month, so far in 2021, is still £1.46 million.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for tradesmen and people working in construction, with Covid-19 really restricting their ability to work. The last thing they need is their tools being stolen, but this new data shows us just how common that reality is, particularly in London,” says Stefano Lobban, director at Herts Tools. “Unfortunately, thieves are often attracted to high-price items like powered hand tools. Of course, when these items are stolen, it’s even harder for tradesmen to replace them due to the high cost.”

The company offers the following advice to help minimise the risk of theft:

  • Don’t store tools in your van overnight
  • If you have to leave tools in your van, park in a busy area covered by CCTV

  • Get an alarm, a lockable interior cabinet or interior deadbolts for your van

  • Make your tools less attractive to thieves by removing brand name plates and marking them with neon spray paint

  • Use stickers to tell thieves about security measures and act as a deterrent

For further information about London tool thefts, please click on the following link:

For more information about Hearts Tools, please click the following link: Herts Tools

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