Tool theft hotspots revealed

Published:  09 May, 2018

Insurance provider Simply Business analysed over 3,000 tool theft claims and discovered that the average tool theft claim has gone up by over 15% from 2016 to 2017 – with 5% of claims over £5,000, and some claims as high as £11,000.

Simply Business covers 135,000 tradespeople in the UK, and has been monitoring a rise in tool theft since 2012. The business found that the average value of theft claims has risen to £1,692.

This reflects the trade community’s growing concerns over the safety of their equipment, alongside reports in January from the Office of National Statistics of an 18% rise in vehicle-related thefts overall for 2017.

Simply Business found July was the month with the highest number of tool thefts, going against the typical association of thefts happening in winter. The company says this shows an increase in thieves who use cloned key fobs to steal from vans in broad daylight without attracting attention.

Geographically, Chelmsford, Tunbridge Wells and Reading made the top 10 list of places for tool thefts – with over one in ten Simply Business customers in Tunbridge Wells making a claim last year.

The top 10 towns and cities by number of claims in 2017 were revealed to be:

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

Fiona McSwein, Chief Customer Officer at Simply Business, said: “Tool theft remains one of the number one issues affecting hardworking tradespeople across the country. Over the last year, we’ve seen an average of at least two or three tool theft claims every single day. Stolen tools can be devastating – beyond the financial loss, it takes away tradespeople’s ability to carry out their work, leading to loss of time and negatively impacting 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."

You can read Simply Business’ eight step guide to recovering stolen tools here.

Image credit: Lee Watts/ Tool Crime Deserves Time campaign