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Record-high tool theft from vans

Car crime vehicle theft

Tool theft has soared in the last 12 months with more than a third of van drivers falling victim – up from a quarter the year before, according to a study by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

The average value of equipment stored per van stands at £2,500, which means UK tradespeople are footing a £4.4 billion bill for replacement tools every year.

In addition, the study found that when tools are stolen, it stops work for six days on average, causing UK businesses to lose a staggering £5.2 billion annually.

An increase in the number of van drivers leaving tools in their vehicles overnight, with three-quarters admitting to doing so compared to less than half in 2020, has created more opportunity for thieves. And just half of van drivers are taking extra precautions such as additional alarms, locks, and vehicle trackers.

While London remains the UK’s biggest tool-theft hotspot, the rate has reduced to 47% of van drivers from 55% in the previous year. That’s in contrast to Scotland (45%), the North West (41%) and North East (40%), which have recorded huge surges in tool theft in the past year. The South East is the area where van drivers are least likely to fall victim to a break-in.

Percentage of van drivers with tools or equipment stolen in the past year
Region 2021/22 2020/21
London 47% 55%
Scotland 45% 22%
North West 41% 25%
North East 40% 28%
Yorkshire and the Humber 38% 7%
Wales 36% 4%
West Midlands 36% 33%
Northern Ireland 35% 13%
East Anglia 33% 23%
East Midlands 32% 15%
South West 32% 10%
South East 28% 17%

“We’re shocked to see that cases have risen so much in the past year, as we know the impact on businesses and workers is massive,” said David Hanna, Head of Direct Sales at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

“Hopefully, these findings will prompt those with expensive equipment to take extra precautions, whether that’s additional security features on their vans, avoiding parking in secluded, poorly-lit areas, or taking an extra 15 minutes at the end of the day to unload their vans.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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