A £20 skeleton key could be behind thousands of tool thefts and van break-ins across the UK, it’s been claimed.
As tool thefts across the country surge, tradespeople will be alarmed to find out that the skeleton key is readily available online.
A couple of builders from West Yorkshire set up the popular Facebook group ‘Van and Tool Theft Awareness’ having been victims of a skeleton key robbery.
Speaking to the BBC, Spencer Hargrave said: “They've entered the van with a key, which I'd never heard of until then.
“I rang the police and they said there had been a few in the area [who had] been done on the same morning,” he said.
Paul Butterfield, meanwhile, says that the police didn’t fully investigate the incident.
“They gave me a crime number and that was it really - forgotten about,” said Paul.
“They said ‘it's a builder’s van, there'll be no fingerprints, get yourself to work.’”
The intended users of skeleton keys are locksmiths - an essential part of their tool box.
Example photo taken from Amazon.co.uk.
However, many have argued that they should be less readily available to the general public - a sentiment shared by Steffan George from the Master Locksmith Association.
“These are legitimate locksmiths tools,” He said. “But they shouldn't be available to everyone.
“We would welcome a restriction of their sale.”
The revelation comes amid a worrying 30 per cent rise in tool theft, as revealed by Simply Business data.
Along with a rise in the number of thefts taking place, we also witnessed a 40 per cent growth in the average value of claims, suggesting thieves are taking more when they do break in.
It’s a worrying trend for tradespeople, and coupled with the rise in ‘peel and steal’ thefts - along with other new techniques for breaking into vans - the growing use of skeleton keys will be of major concern.
Tools are an important part of business for most tradespeople, and many would be left unable to work without them.
Avoiding skeleton key break-ins is tricky, as techniques such as parking with the van’s side doors against walls aren’t as effective.
However, it’s worth keeping the following in mind, as best practice:
14 June 2017 • 3-minute read
Tool theft is spiking in the UK . These days it feels like you can barely go five minutes without hearing another story about stolen tools…
29 December 2017 • 4-minute read
It's likely to be an important year ahead for tradespeople, following a 2017 filled with ups and downs. Tradesmen looking ahead to 201…
6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG
Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ
© 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.