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Tool thieves beware – break into this electrician’s van and get a 1000-volt shock from his home-made alarm

2-minute read

Sam Bromley

29 August 2019

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After having £5,000 of his tools stolen in two years, 61-year-old electrician Ray Taylor decided to fit his Citroen Dispatch with his own shocking deterrent.

While the zap won’t cause any long-term harm to would-be tool thieves, Ray’s made sure a siren and a 120-decibel alarm go off too. What’s more, the police say his device is legal.

“They’ll get a zap”

Speaking to the Sun, Ray from Wolverhampton said: “If the sirens don’t scare them off the shock will. They’ll get a zap.”

If the thief tries to break in using the rear door handle, the 1000-volt shock will make them “jump a bit”, according to Ray. He’s used the zapper from an electric fly swatter that’s isolated to the handle, meaning the rest of the van isn’t live.

As for the alarm system, there’s a siren (complete with flashing lights) and what the Sun describes as ‘sound bombs’ – 120-decibel dins that are “equivalent to a jumbo jet taking off.”

It all works because the system is fitted to a switch in the cabin, itself connected to the rear door key. If the thief tries to get in by pulling the handle while the van is locked, the system is triggered.

How is it legal?

While West Midlands Police said they won’t endorse Ray’s home-made system, they’ve told him that it’s legal – as long as he puts up clear warning signs.

So he’s put up a yellow sign under the door handle that says ‘danger live terminals’, which should make any thieves think twice before trying to get in.

The Sun mentions a current affairs reporter, the cheekily named Ivor Watt, who tried the system out for himself – after getting zapped, he said: "The alarm pierced my ears. I left.”

Do you want to see better tool theft deterrents?

The sad reality is that honest tradespeople up and down the country are left unable to work when their tools are stolen. We believe that has to change.

Ray’s electric shock and alarm system is one way to deter tool thieves, but it’s not officially sanctioned. Could car manufacturers and local authorities explore systems similar to this, however?

We’re keen to raise awareness of the rise in tool theft and get your thoughts on questions like the one above. Whether you want to see stronger deterrents or more effective methods of recovering stolen tools, we’re aiming to make a difference – and eventually stamp out tool theft.

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Look for more tool theft stories over the coming weeks and let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments below.

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