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Where are the van theft ‘hotspots’ in the UK?

1-minute read

White van driving on motorway
Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith

30 May 2022

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Van theft has more than doubled for some UK regions over the last two years, according to a new study from IronmongeryDirect.

The trades supplier sent Freedom of Information requests to police forces in the UK to find out how many vans were stolen in 2020 and 2021.

Read on to find out some of the worst hit areas for van theft, as well as tips for preventing it in the first place.

Cambridgeshire and Cumbria see rising cases

The number of trade vehicles stolen in Cambridgeshire rose from 68 in 2020 to 138 in 2021 – that’s a 103 per cent increase year-on-year.

Cumbria Constabulary also saw a rise in this crime, reporting an increase from 15 vans to 30 vans over the two-year period.

London is the worst hit area

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London has seen the most vans stolen compared to other UK regions.

The Metropolitan Police Service say they saw a total of 6,839 van theft incidents in 2020 and 2021. This is almost half (46 per cent) of the offences seen across the UK.

Van theft: 10 UK hotspots

These are the worst hit regions, based on percentage increase of van theft between between 2020 and 2021:


% change between 2020 and 2021









South Yorkshire












It’s important to note that this data is based on crime reports that specifically say a van was stolen. Some crime reports may not specify the type of vehicle and won’t be included in this data, so the figure could be even higher.

Tips for preventing van theft (and recovering stolen tools)

It’s always best to aim for prevention when it comes to keeping your van and tools secure. Read our van theft prevention tips for tradespeople:

Avoid keeping tools in your van overnight – if thieves do steal your van, at least you won’t be left without the tools you need to do your job.

Plan your parking – park in well-lit areas, or in view of CCTV cameras, home security cameras, or even ring doorbells.

Get tool cover – having tools insurance can help you get back on your feet quickly if your tools are stolen, minimising downtime from work.

Get commercial van insurancebusiness van insurance is a legal requirement in the UK and protects you if your vehicle is lost, stolen, or damaged.

Consider additional locks – using a visual deterrent like a steering wheel lock or deadlock can discourage thieves and are noisy to break.

Have you had to deal with van or tool theft? Let us know your experience in the comments below.

Are you protecting your tools?

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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Photograph: Kirill Gorlov/
Catriona Smith

Written by

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.

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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