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Warning after January emerges as WORST period for tool theft with tools stolen once every 30 minutes

4-minute read

Simply Business

Simply Business

6 January 2019

Warning after January emerges as WORST period for tool theft with tools stolen once every 30 minutes

  • warning issued after FOI analysis reveals January as the worst period for tool theft in the year
  • London suffered more than 16,700 tool thefts in one year, equating to an average of 45 a day, or one every 30 minutes
  • Barnet emerged as the worst affected area for tool theft, followed by Enfield
  • one in three (37 per cent) tradespeople have fallen victim to tool theft costing £3,005 each on average

January 2020 – A warning has been issued to tradespeople after January emerged as the worst period for tool theft in the year, with London suffering more than 16,700 thefts over 12 months – equating to 45 every day, or one every 30 minutes.

The official figures, obtained from the Met Police by small business insurer Simply Business under the Freedom of Information Act, show 16,725 tool thefts were reported between 1st July 2018–30th June 2019.

The small business insurance provider is issuing a warning to tradespeople working in London this winter, as the figures reveal January as the month where tools are most likely to be stolen. A total of 1,569 thefts were reported in January 2018, almost 400 more than the month prior in December (1,187).

The figures reveal Barnet is the worst area for tool theft with 1,281 individual reports of theft, followed by Enfield (1,019) and Waltham Forest (771). There is an 89% gap between the worst affected borough (Barnet), and the safest (Kensington and Chelsea).

Top 10 worst London boroughs for tool theft (full borough breakdown below):

  • Barnet - 1,281
  • Enfield - 1,019
  • Waltham Forest - 771
  • Bromley - 757
  • Haringey - 708
  • Hillingdon - 663
  • Brent - 660
  • Ealing - 650
  • Greenwich - 639
  • Newham - 627

Across the UK, one in three (37 per cent) tradespeople have fallen victim to tool theft, costing an average of £3,005 each in lost earnings (£870) and replacing stolen tools (£2,135). Meanwhile, a staggering 84 per cent don’t believe the government is doing enough to prevent tool theft.

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business, said: “The New Year is usually a time for celebration, but there is nothing to celebrate about these figures. In London, tools are stolen once every half hour on average, and we’re urging tradespeople working in the capital this January to take extra caution.

“Tradespeople are crucial when it comes to keeping Britain running, but they’re being stopped in their tracks on a daily basis due to the ongoing tool theft epidemic. Tool theft rips through the lives of thousands of tradespeople and their families every year, with victims losing out on over £3,000 each on average, through lost earnings and replacing stolen equipment.

“Having their tools stolen doesn’t just impact their ability to work, but it affects their livelihoods too. Putting the correct measures in place will go a long way in combating tool theft, protecting the lives and jobs of millions of tradespeople up and down the country.”

Borough breakdown:

RankBoroughTota
1Barnet1281
2Enfield1019
3Waltham Forest771
4Bromley757
5Haringey708
6Hillingdon663
7Brent660
8Ealing650
9Greenwich639
10Newham627
11Croydon625
12Havering581
13Lewisham573
14Redbridge569
15Hackney556
16Camden541
17Bexley526
18Lambeth517
19Southwark505
20Tower Hamlets499
21Hounslow452
22Westminster430
23Wandsworth358
24Islington336
25Barking and Dagenham317
26Sutton317
27Harrow275
28Merton272
29Richmond223
30Hammersmith and Fulham173
31Kingston Upon Thames159
32Kensington and Chelsea146

Monthly breakdown:

  • January - 1569
  • October - 1535
  • November - 1506
  • September - 1456
  • March - 1454
  • May - 1425
  • July - 1412
  • February - 1355
  • August - 1333
  • June - 1299
  • April - 1194
  • December - 1187

Top 5 tips for preventing tool theft

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business

Park against a wall – aim to park with sliding or rear doors against a wall or sturdy fence so it’s difficult for them to be opened. You should park in busy, well-lit areas, and preferably in view of a CCTV camera.

Remove tools overnight – nowadays, a lot of break ins can be from ‘peel and steal’ and electronic key fobs, so even well-secured vans are at risk. If you can, remove tools from your vehicle overnight to completely reduce the risk of losing them, even if an attempt is made.

Mark your tools – having identification marks on your tools (e.g. from paint or permanent marker) makes it difficult for stolen tools to be sold on. It also helps to recognise you as the owner if they’re recovered.

Record serial numbers – make a note of serial numbers, as well as the make and model of tools you own. Providing this to police in the event of them being stolen will help to identify your tools if they’re found, as well as easing the process of making an insurance claim.

Consider tools insurance – replacing your tools is likely to be expensive. Having insurance in place, whether standalone tools insurance, or as part of your business insurance policy, can help to give you peace of mind as well as support with the sudden financial shock of tool theft. Check your policy and if you don’t already have tools insurance included, consider adding it on. You should also check your policy wording to find out exactly what’s covered, what the limits and excesses are, and if there’s any exceptions to be aware of.

-ENDS-

Data sourced from FOI request submitted to Met Police for dates 1 July 2018 – 31 June 2019.

Wider stats from external research conducted in August 2019. Survey of 1,000 UK based tradespeople:

  • one in three (37 per cent) victim to tool theft
  • 65 per cent know someone who has
  • £3,005 average cost of tool theft which comes from an average loss of earnings (£870) and average cost of replacing stolen tools (£2,135)
  • 84 per cent don’t believe the government is doing enough to prevent tool theft

Simply Business insures over half a million SMEs up and down the country, over 175,000 of which are tradespeople.

About Simply Business:

Simply Business is one of the UK’s biggest business insurance providers, insuring over 600,000 small businesses and landlords across Britain.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service, delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. Using the power of tech and data to create the best possible customer experiences, Simply Business employs over 600 people across offices in London, Northampton, and Boston in the US.

Owing to its internal underwriting capability, Simply Business can cover over 1,000 trade types – ranging from plumbers to accountants to dog walkers. An accredited B Corp for their positive social impact, Simply Business has also been voted the Sunday Times Best Company To Work For twice in a row.

For further information, please contact:

Frank PR

+44 20 7693 7433

[email protected]

About Simply Business

Simply Business is one of the UK’s biggest business insurance providers, specialising in public liability insurance for SMEs and insuring over 600,000 small businesses and landlords across Britain.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service, delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. Using the power of tech and data to create the best possible customer experiences, Simply Business employs over 600 people across offices in London, Northampton, and Boston in the US.

Owing to its internal underwriting capability, Simply Business can cover over 1,000 trade types – ranging from plumbers to accountants to dog walkers. An accredited B Corp for their positive social impact, Simply Business has also been voted the Sunday Times Best Company To Work For twice in a row.

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© Copyright 2020 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.