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Home Tradesman Insights UK tradespeople take to London to protest against tool theft

UK tradespeople take to London to protest against tool theft

In an unprecedented show of solidarity, hundreds of tradespeople from across the UK converged on London’s Parliament Square on 3rd June to protest the alarming rise in tool theft. The demonstration, organised by Trades United, a body representing the industry, aimed to draw attention to the million worth of tools stolen from tradespeople.

Why are tradespeople protesting?

According to Trades United, over the past six years, more than 44,500 incidents of tool theft have been reported to police forces across the UK. Despite this, the organisation accuses the government of failing to take adequate action to address the issue.

The protest saw around 300 vehicles, many emblazoned with slogans like “tool theft is on the rise” and “where is the law?”, driving slowly around Westminster, sounding their horns in a bid to raise awareness. 

What’s the impact of tool theft on tradespeople?

For many tradespeople, their tools are their livelihood. When these are stolen, it’s not just the cost of replacement that hurts – it’s the lost work and income. Roy Melville, owner of Notting Hill Handyman, had £1,500 worth of tools stolen from his van in February. 

Beyond the tool value, he faced additional costs for van repairs and lost work due to rescheduling client projects.

What are tradespeople demanding?

Trades United is calling for stricter enforcement of existing laws and greater accountability for those who sell stolen tools. Specifically, they want the government to impose a £10,000 fine on event organisers of car boot sales and markets that allow the resale of stolen goods. 

The organisation believes this would significantly reduce opportunities for thieves to offload stolen tools, leading to a decrease in vehicle break-ins and thefts.

The Theft Act 1986 already addresses the handling of stolen goods, with provisions for up to fourteen years imprisonment for those found guilty. However, Trades United argues that “enforcement is lacking, with crime reference numbers issued without thorough investigation into the crimes or the locations where stolen goods are resold.

How can tradespeople protect their tools?

While political action is needed, there are steps tradespeople can take to reduce the risk of tool theft:

  1. Park in well-lit, CCTV-monitored areas whenever possible, especially overnight.
  2. Invest in additional security measures like high-quality locks, alarms, and trackers.
  3. Permanently mark tools, making them less desirable to thieves and easier to trace if stolen.
  4. Remove tools from vehicles overnight where feasible.
  5. Consider tool insurance as part of your business insurance package.

Protecting your tolls with Tradesman Saver

At Tradesman Saver, we understand the challenges tradespeople face. That’s why we offer comprehensive insurance packages tailored to your needs, with tools and equipment insurance cover available as an optional extra. Our policies start from less than £54* per year and can include:

  • Public Liability Insurance up to £5 million
  • Employers’ Liability Insurance at £10 million
  • Legal Expenses cover
  • Personal Accident cover

With instant quotes, immediate cover, and a 24/7 claims helpline, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Get a quote today and ensure your business is protected. 

Tradesman Talk

The London protest has shone a spotlight on the tool theft epidemic affecting UK tradespeople. As the calls for tougher enforcement grow louder, it’s clear that urgent action is needed to protect the livelihoods of this vital workforce. 

Have you been affected by tool theft? What steps do you take to keep your tools safe? Do you think the government and police are doing enough to address the issue? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

Together, we can raise awareness, push for change, and protect UK tradespeople from the scourge of tool theft. Until next time, stay safe and stay protected with Tradesman Saver.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Tradesman Saver, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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