Tradespeople are calling for five year minimum sentences for those convicted of tool theft

A group of tradespeople are calling on the government to introduce tougher sentencing for those convicted of tool theft.

A new petition, which has attracted nearly 3,500 signatures already, is asking the government to consider a minimum five year sentence for vandalising vans or stealing tools.

The creator of the petition is also calling for new guidelines to better regulate the sale of second hand tools.

Rise of ‘peel and steal’

The petition comes in the wake of a significant spike in tool thefts. Research from Simply Business found a 30 per cent increase in tool theft in the last year, with Yorkshire and the Midlands the worst hotspots.

This follows a 28.5 per cent rise in 2016, during which Simply Business alone processed tool theft claims totaling nearly £2.8 million.

Tradespeople are understood to be particularly at risk from a new technique known as ‘peel and steal’, in which sliding van doors are broken open with brute force, rather than with lock picking.

Tradespeople fight back

But the tradesman community has responded to the increase in van thefts by doubling down on their own security measures.

In January, Simply Business reported that a group of tradesmen had begun working with Ford to help protect Transit MKs, the van most likely to be broken into.

The group have had meetings with senior management at Ford following their own investigations on the Builder’s Talk Group, which found that 130 members had had tools stolen with a total value of over £500,000.

How can you protect your tools?

There’s a range of ways in which tradesmen can protect their vans and their contents, including marking tools, parking in busy areas, and taking out tools insurance.

Read more of our top tips for protecting against peel and steal.

Should tool theft sentences be tougher? Let us know your thoughts below.

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