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January revealed as the worst month for tool theft with tools stolen once every 30 minutes

1-minute read

Lucy McNeill

Lucy McNeill

14 January 2020

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Tradespeople beware – data shows January is the worst month for tool theft in London, with tools being stolen once every 30 minutes.

The numbers, obtained by Simply Business via the Met Police, show that 16,725 tool thefts were reported during the period between July 2018 and June 2019.

This works out at an average of 45 thefts a day, or one every 30 minutes.

The worst months for tool theft

The full month-by-month breakdown shows that 1,569 tool thefts were reported in January 2019 – almost 400 more than in December 2018.


Number of tool thefts

January 2019


October 2018


November 2018


September 2018


March 2019


May 2019


July 2018


February 2019


August 2018


June 2019


April 2019


December 2018


The top 10 worst London boroughs for tool theft

The analysis also shows that Barnet is the worst affected area, with 1,281 thefts reported, closely followed by Enfield (1,019) and Waltham Forest (771).

In stark contrast, the safest borough, Kensington and Chelsea, saw just 146 tool thefts throughout the year.

  • Barnet - 1,281
  • Enfield - 1,019
  • Waltham Forest - 771
  • Bromley - 757
  • Haringey - 708
  • Hillingdon - 663
  • Brent - 660
  • Ealing - 650
  • Greenwich - 639
  • Newham - 627

An ‘ongoing tool theft epidemic'

As previously reported by Simply Business, a staggering one in 3 tradespeople have fallen victim to tool theft. For each tradesperson impacted, that works out at an average cost of £3,005 in lost earnings and the replacement of stolen tools.

And with 84 per cent of tradespeople believing that the government aren’t doing enough to tackle the issue, we launched our campaign to Stamp Out Tool Theft.

The campaign – which petitioned to see the tool theft issue debated in parliament – was stopped in its tracks, as the government closed our petition with less than 24 hours notice in November 2019.

Preventing tool theft

Although these numbers are concerning, there are a few key steps you can take to help prevent your tools from being stolen.

Check out our eight-step guide to recovering stolen tools, which includes some helpful tips on preventing thieves from getting their hands on your goods.

How has tool theft affected you and your business? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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As the UK's biggest business insurance provider, we know the importance of covering your tools. Why not take a look now and build a quick, tailored tool insurance quote?

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Lucy McNeill

Written by

Lucy McNeill

Lucy McNeill is a Senior Copy and Content Manager at Simply Business. She’s worked in content for 16 years, primarily within the financial services and travel sectors. Lucy’s passionate about supporting women in small business, having led Simply Business’s Empowering Women in Business initiative for two years running. Lucy also specialises in webinars and virtual events.

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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