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Simply Business launches campaign to Stamp Out Tool Theft

4-minute read

Simply Business

Simply Business

1 October 2019

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stamp out tool theft

  • Simply Business launches campaign to Stamp Out Tool Theft
  • Well over a third (37%) of tradespeople have fallen victim to tool theft
  • Tool theft costs victims in excess of £3,000 on average – £870 in lost earnings, and £2,135 in replacing the stolen tools
  • The SME insurer is calling for the government to implement tighter regulation for the selling of second hand tools, and greater minimum fines for those convicted of tool theft
  • 84% of tradespeople don’t believe the government is doing enough to prevent tool theft

Simply Business has launched a campaign to Stamp Out Tool Theft once and for all, after research reveals one in three (37%) tradespeople have had their tools stolen, costing an average of £3,000 each in lost earnings (£870) and replacing stolen tools (£2,135).

The small business insurer, which protects over half a million SMEs across the country, is calling on the government to implement greater fines for those convicted of tool theft, as well as tighter regulations on the selling of second hand tools. The insurer has launched a petition with the aim of attracting 100,000 signatures for the measures to be debated in Parliament. The petition can be viewed here.

To mark the campaign, a mobile billboard was driven to the front door of parliament at 8am today, laying bare the issue of tool theft to the government. The mobile billboard, announcing the petition on behalf of the thousands of victims of tool theft, then travelled to some of the capital’s biggest building sites across Battersea, Nine Elms and Wandsworth. It also stopped off and visited well-known businesses on the way, such as Pimlico Plumbers, Screwfix and Plumbase.

While the on-going Brexit debate has been taking government’s focus away from pressing issues at home, tool theft continues to have a serious impact on the lives of millions of tradespeople every year.

Well over a third (37%) have fallen victim, while 65% also know someone who has. On average, tool theft costs £870 in lost earnings each. Almost a fifth (18%) lost more than £1,000 in lost earnings.

Adding to this, the average tools stolen are worth £2,135, costing more than a month’s average real-time earnings. This means the average tool theft costs victims a combined £3,005 on average, taking into account lost earnings and replacing stolen tools.

Over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed couldn’t work for a few days, while just under a tenth (8%) were unable to work for over a week.

One in three (33%) had their tools stolen from the building site – either from their van or from the site itself. Almost a fifth (16%) had tools stolen from their van while parked in the street or in a public car park.

Is the government doing enough?

A staggering 84% of tradespeople don’t believe the government is doing enough to prevent tool theft. Just under two thirds (60%) surveyed believe there needs to be greater sentences for thieves, while more than half (55%) believe there should be greater fines for those convicted.

Over a quarter (28%) of tradespeople believe the sentence for tool theft should be five years in prison, and over one in 10 (15%) believe a £10,000 fine should be imposed.

Half (50%) of tradespeople also believe there should be greater funding for police and police presence on the streets, a third (32%) want to see greater restrictions on the selling of second-hand tools, and a further third (30%) believe there should be more CCTV in place. In addition, one in five (20%) want to see more street lights installed to deter thieves.

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business: “Tradespeople are the backbone of Britain, 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.

“Brexit is having a paralysing effect on British politics, but there are pressing issues at home which urgently need addressing. This is why we’re calling on the government to Stamp Out Tool Theft once and for all. We want to see greater fines imposed on those convicted, as well as tighter regulations on the selling of second hand tools which, because of their high value, are often stolen to sell on the black market.

“Putting these two 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.”

To learn more about this campaign visit:

Top 5 tips for preventing tool theft

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Make sure you’re insured – 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.


1 ONS average weekly earnings in Great Britain: September 2019 (£470 real term earnings a week, equating to £2,036 a month on average)

Notes to editors: Data: survey of 1,000 tradespeople across the UK, conducted August 2019

Link to petition:

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

To learn more about this campaign visit:

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 900,000 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 800 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.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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