It’s that time of year again. Christmas is fast encroaching and you’re probably knees deep in present shopping as we speak. But for some of you tradesmen out there, this Christmas may not all be smiles and laughter. With tool theft continuing to rise, it seems in the lead up to the festive season, you may end up with more to worry about than what to get that special someone in your life.
Unfortunately, this harsh reality is something that joiner, kitchen and bathroom fitter, Simon Entwistle, from Newbold, has had to face himself this Christmas. After being the victim of four van break-ins, Simon has had over £10,000 worth of tools stolen, and is now speaking out in the hopes of raising awareness to other tradespeople about the dangers they face in the midst of increasing levels of tool theft.
He expressed great dismay at people “helping themselves” to his tools and explained that he is self-employed and it’s taken him a great number of “years to build up all those tools.” He also added that “it doesn’t just happen overnight” and the thieves are “killing [his] work.”
But the worst thing is how canny the thieves seem to be about the value of the tools. They deliberately homed in on the tools that would fetch the highest price by sorting through them. He commented that the thieves “must think [he’s] a millionaire.”
Simon worked with the police in order to help them track down the thieves and, despite his harsh words against those who stole his tools, he praised the police for doing their utmost to help him in his hour of need. He particularly praised PC Andy Crouch, who he says has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help him.
While PC Crouch was delighted that Simon was happy with the service he’d received from the police, he’s still desperate to find out what happened to his tools. He said: “I would urge anyone who has information about the theft to come forward. We would also like to speak to anyone who is offered tools for sale.”
It’s sad but true that stories of tool theft from hard-working tradespeople are not uncommon these days. Statistics show that tool theft has rocked by 30% in the past year, and that figure seems to be on the increase. Some of the most popular areas for tool theft include London, Bristol and Sheffield, and all of these areas are most at risk of being hit by multiple thefts.
For those looking to try and get ahead of the problem and keep their tools safe, there are a few things you can do to decrease the likelihood of your tools being stolen:
- Store your tools in your home or garage overnight
- Try to park your car in a busy area within sight of a CCTV camera
- Register your tools on the Immobilise register, to increase your chances of tracing them if you’re unfortunate enough to have them stolen
- Clearly engrave or mark your tools
- Get insurance for your tools so you’ll be able to get back to work quickly if you are the victim of tool theft
- For those with pre-existing insurance, check through your documents thoroughly to ensure you’re completely covered