Tool theft on the rise in the lead-up to Christmas

We’ve been trawling through our data and found that in the last three months of the year, insurance claims for stolen tools tend to spike. Whether it’s due to the dark evenings or thieves needing cash for Christmas gifts, it’s extra important to protect your kit over the next few weeks.

Police report spate of tool thefts from vans

Bedfordshire Police reported last month that they’d received more than 100 reports of thefts from Ford Transit vans since the start of September, with thieves using devices to override the locking systems. As a result, they’ve encouraged tradesmen to store tools and other equipment in a secure place overnight, rather than inside their vehicles.

Thames Valley Police have issued a similar warning to tradesmen in the Windsor and Maidenhead areas, with thefts from vehicles rising through late summer and into the autumn: “Vans are particularly at risk as they are being targeted by thieves looking to steal tools. It’s important that drivers ensure that they keep their vehicles secure and that tools are not stored in vans overnight.”

Why are there more tool thefts in the run-up to Christmas?

As the days get shorter, there’s more time for thieves to operate under the cover of darkness, which is possibly the main reason for the increase in theft at this time of year.

Plus, homeowners scramble to get property maintenance completed before Christmas - with plumbers particularly in-demand thanks to broken-down boilers - so there’s possibly more opportunity for thieves to strike.

There’s also some speculation that tool thefts ramp up in the festive season because criminals are keen to raise money for Christmas gifts.

Keeping your tools safe

All of this means that you need to be extra vigilant over the next few weeks and months, to avoid falling victim to tool theft. Here are some measures you can take:

  • Remove your tools from your van whenever possible, especially overnight.
  • If you do have to leave tools in your van sometimes, make sure it’s fully alarmed, and consider fitting extra locks to your rear and side doors and fitting a lockable strong box inside.
  • If you’ve left something in your van, try to park it in a busy area, and with the rear doors close to a wall so that access is difficult.
  • Register your tools for free on the Immobilise register, which helps police identify the owners of recovered property.
  • Visibly mark your tools with your name or postcode to deter thieves, using a permanent marker or engraving. And use an ultraviolet pen to add other personal details covertly, in case your tools are recovered.

It’s also sensible to make sure you’ve got suitable tool insurance in place, and that you understand the limits and exclusions of your policy. Check your documents to make sure you understand what types of claims will be covered, and what measures your insurer expects you to take to protect your tools.

How do you keep your tools safe? Tell us in the comments.

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