Thief convinces police he's legit before making off with tools worth £9,000

If police came to quiz you while you were in the middle of helping yourself to someone else’s tools, you’d probably think the game was up.

But one thief eventually managed to make off with tools worth £9,000 from plumber Slawek Zareba’s van, reports The Sun.

Neighbours in Morden, south London called police on 6 October when they sensed something dodgy might be going on in the early hours of the morning.

Caught on camera

CCTV footage from The Sun shows the thief’s open car boot full of Mr Zareba’s tools. The police arrive to talk to him, but drive off without taking any action, leaving him free to come back half an hour later to finish the job.

The tradesman woke up to an empty van

The unsuspecting plumber says he was asleep in his house during the incident, completely unaware of what was going on outside.

According to The Sun report, police were satisfied with the suspect’s explanation as to why he had the tools from Mr Zareba’s van in the boot of his car – but they didn’t double-check the story with Mr Zareba.

Unable to work without tools

Mr Zareba said the theft of his tools have stopped him from being able to work. So not only did he lose out on the value of his tools, he also lost out on earning money.

When the police established that the tools had in fact been stolen, they launched an investigation and executed a warrant at a property in Morden.

Banged up

After recovering a number of items from the Morden property, police eventually caught up with the thief, named in the Daily Mail as David Walpole, 47, from Morden.

The Met Police say that Walpole appeared at Wimbledon Magistrate’s Court on 13 October, pleaded guilty, and received a five-month prison sentence.

The true cost of tool theft

The article in The Sun follows a tool theft survey by Simply Business in August. It revealed that almost a third of tradespeople who fall victim to tool theft lose more than £1,000 – and that’s not including the cost of replacing the tools.

And back in May we analysed more than 3,000 tool theft claims and found a 15 per cent rise in the average claim value from 2016 to 2017. The analysis also revealed that five per cent of claims were over £5,000, while some were as high as £11,000.

What do you think about the rise in tool theft? Let us know in the comments below.

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