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Government called to take action as survey reveals 1 in 3 tradespeople fall victim to tool theft

3-minute read

Lauren Hellicar

2 October 2019

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Research has revealed that more than a third of tradespeople fall victim to tool theft, prompting Simply Business to launch our campaign to Stamp Out Tool Theft.

According to our research, 84 per cent of tradespeople don’t believe the government’s doing enough to tackle this crime epidemic. And we think it's time that changed.

So what better way to draw ministers' attention to the issue than to drive a massive billboard right up to parliament’s front door?

Our Stamp Out Tool Theft campaign – what are we calling for?

The aim of our campaign is to get the government to tighten regulations around the selling of second-hand tools, and increase the minimum fine for criminals convicted of tool theft.

And you can help.

Stamp Out Tool Theft – sign our petition

Learn more

Sign the petition to help us get to 100,000 signatures, forcing parliament to consider the tool theft issue for debate.

You can also follow the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #StampOutToolTheft

Each victim left more than £3,000 out of pocket

Our survey also revealed the true cost of tool theft to the victims.

Tool theft costs victims more than £3,000 on average – £870 in lost earnings and £2,135 in replacing the stolen tools.

We think it's just plain wrong that this crime continues to wreck the livelihoods of our hardworking customers. That's why we want to raise awareness of the plight of the thousands of victims of tool theft up and down the UK.

After making a statement outside parliament, our Stamp Out Tool Theft billboard hit the streets to spread the message throughout the capital, stopping off at some of its biggest building sites: Battersea, Nine Elms and Wandsworth.

We also paid a visit to some well-known names in the trades, including Pimlico Plumbers, Screwfix and Plumbase.

Our tool theft survey – the headlines

In our survey of over 1,000 tradespeople, we learnt everything from the number of people affected, to where most crimes take place.

Read on for a summary of some of our survey's most shocking results.

How many have had their tools stolen?

  • 37 per cent of tradespeople have fallen victim to tool theft
  • 65 per cent know someone who has

How much does it cost tradespeople?

  • Tool theft costs a tradesperson £870 in lost earnings on average
  • 18 per cent have lost more than £1,000 in earnings
  • The average worth of tools stolen equates to more than a month’s earnings (£2,135)
  • Tool theft costs a tradesperson £3,005 in total on average

How long does tool theft stop people trading?

  • 72 per cent are forced to take time off work after having their tools stolen
  • 26 per cent said they couldn’t work for several days
  • Eight per cent said they couldn’t work for over a week

Where are your tools at risk?

  • 33 per cent said their tools were stolen from a building site – either from their van or from the site itself
  • 16 per cent had tools stolen while their van was parked in the street or a public car park

Is the government doing enough?

The majority of tradespeople (84 per cent) don’t think the government’s doing enough to stop tool theft. Of those surveyed, 60 per cent want to see greater sentences for thieves, while 55 per cent think there should be higher fines for those convicted.

Over a quarter (28 per cent) of tradespeople think tool thieves should be slapped with a five-year prison sentence, and 15 per cent believe a £10,000 fine is fair.

Half of tradespeople also believe there should be greater funding for police, a third (32 per cent) want to see tighter regulation around the selling of second-hand tools, and a third (30 per cent) think there's a need for more CCTV. A fifth (20 per cent) think an increase in street lighting would also help deter thieves.

Have you been affected by tool theft? Tell us in the comments below – and don't forget to sign our petition and follow our Twitter campaign to #StampOutToolTheft.

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As the UK's biggest business insurance provider, we specialise in public liability insurance and protect more trades than anybody else. Why not take a look now and build a quick, tailored tradesman insurance quote?

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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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