Tool theft hotspots in the UK revealed

New research from Simply Business has revealed the top ten tool theft hotspots in the UK. The business insurance provider bases its findings on its tools insurance claims data, which identified a number of worrying trends – from an overall increase in the number of thefts in the last few years, to a rise in the average value of the tools being stolen. Major cities in the north, Midlands, and south appear in the 10 most-targeted areas.

Simply Business says that it seems thieves have wised up to the value of various tools and are actively targeting those that are worth more money. An analysis of over 3000 tool theft claims showed that the average claim has gone up by over 15% from 2016 to 2017 – with 5% of claims over £5000, and some claims as high as £11,000. It points to a worrying trend that shows tool theft thieves aren’t just opportunistic, but organised, too.

The worst hit areas

A number of big cities feature in the 10 worst hit areas – including Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol, and Nottingham – but more surprisingly, Chelmsford and Tunbridge Wells also make the list. More than one in 10 Simply Business tradespeople customers in Tunbridge Wells were targeted last year.

Top Tool Theft Areas:
1.    London
2.    Sheffield
3.    Birmingham
4.    Leicester
5.    Chelmsford
6.    Tunbridge Wells
7.    Bristol
8.    Nottingham
9.    Northampton
10.    Reading

Data also revealed the months of the year and days of the week most prone to tool theft.

Surprisingly, it seems July is the month where thieves are at their most active, while Mondays see the biggest weekly spike in activity.

Fiona McSwein, Chief Customer Officer at Simply Business, explains: “Tool theft is undoubtedly the number one issue affecting hard-working tradespeople across the country. Over the last year, we’re handling three tool theft claims every single day. Stolen tools can be devastating – beyond the financial loss, it takes away people’s ability to carry out their work and negatively impacts customer relationships too.

“In 2016, a ‘peel and steal’ craze affected thousands across the country – now we are witnessing new and more advanced ways for thieves to target high-value items, which is a worrying trend. Electronic key fobs can be easily purchased for next to nothing online, leaving thousands of tradespeople vulnerable to theft.

“We hope that by continuing to spotlight this issue, while offering advice and protection, tradespeople can equip themselves with the necessary knowledge to prevent or limit damages from this fast-growing problem.”

Prevention tips

As tool theft continues to rise, here are some things to consider:

  • Park for prevention. Try to park with sliding or rear doors against a wall or sturdy fence so that they can’t be opened. Busy, well-lit areas, preferably in view of a CCTV camera are best.
  • Store tools sensibly. It may be best to remove tools from your van overnight as ‘peel and steal’ and electronic key fobs can leave even well-secured vans vulnerable.
  • Mark your property. If your tools are stolen, having identification marks on them will help make sure you’re recognised as the owner if they’re recovered.
  • Keep a note of serial numbers and other data. Providing information like serial numbers, or at least an itemised list with the make and model of everything taken, will help police identify your tools if they’re found, as well as easing the process of making an insurance claim.
  • Check your insurance. If you don’t have tools insurance as part of your business insurance policy, consider adding it in. It can help pay for the cost of replacing your tools should they be stolen. You should also check your policy wording to find out exactly what’s covered, what the limits and excesses are, and if there are any conditions.


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