Tool theft. It’s the scourge of the industry that just won’t go away. Yet rather than roll over and accept their losses, one group of fed-up tradesmen in South England recently took matters into their own hands by rallying together in protest.
Just a few months ago, we reported on the story of Simon Entwistle – a self-employed joiner, kitchen and bathroom fitter from Newbold who had over £10,000 worth of tools stolen. Unfortunately, stories like Simon’s are becoming all the more common, with some areas of the country reporting as many as 225 thefts on average each month, just from Ford Transit vans alone.
Now, however, more and more tradesmen are taking a stand.
Earlier this year, carpenter Mark Riley started a petition urging Theresa May and the UK government to impose tougher sentences on those who commit tool theft. To date, Mark’s petition has over 49,000 signatures.
As if that wasn’t enough to prove that he’s not alone in calling for something to be done about the issue, earlier this spring, over 150 tradesmen got in their vans to take part in a mass rally, driving into Plymouth city centre from the A38 near Ivybridge, Devon:
Inspired by conversations on a Facebook group for Plymouth tradesmen about the growing number of thefts, the protest was organised by Paul Davenport, who told the BBC that he and his fellow tradesmen “Just want to get something done.”
What’s being done?
In response to the rally, Inspector Nick Lindsey also commented to the BBC, urging people to consider marking their tools to make it easier to recover them.
Whilst this may be of little help to the scores of tradesmen who have already lost thousands of pounds worth of tools stolen, there is a glimmer of hope from the UK Home Office, who have promised to increase police funding next year, with at least £270 million going directly on local priorities such as tool theft.
What can you do?
Until said funding comes into play, tradesmen remain faced with an uphill fight in the battle to protect their livelihood.
Whilst investing in insurance for your tools can prove to be invaluable if you need to quickly replace them as a result of a theft, you should also consider taking the following key measures:
- Taking tools out of your van at the end of the day and storing them at home or in your garage overnight
- Park your van in a busy or well-lit area within sight of CCTV
- Register your tools with Immobilise to increase the chance of getting them back if they’re stolen
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