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Revealed: the UK’s tool theft hotspots

2-minute read

Stamp Out Tool Theft hero image
Sam Bromley

Sam Bromley

23 November 2022

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New data reveals that tool thieves are most active in South East England, with almost one in five (18 per cent) of tradespeople reporting tool theft in the region.

The research from Simply Business and online trades community On The Tools reveals the UK’s tool theft hotspots, with as many as 78 per cent of tradespeople overall having experienced tool theft.

The data is part of our renewed campaign to Stamp Out Tool Theft. To see more data, read On The Tools’ Tradespeople Against Tool Theft white paper, produced in partnership with Simply Business.

The South East is the worst-hit region

The survey of more than 2,000 tradespeople puts South East England as the worst-hit region, with 18 per cent of tradespeople experiencing tool theft there.

London isn’t far behind though, with 17 per cent of tradespeople reporting tool theft in the area. This makes the South East in general a tool theft hotspot.

The West Midlands follows London, where just over one in 10 (11 per cent) of tool thefts take place.

Tools in Northern Ireland are the least likely to be stolen, with less than two per cent of tradespeople reporting thefts.


% tool thefts reported

South East




West Midlands


North West


South West


East Midlands






North East






Stuart Marshall, a specialist heating and plumbing engineer based in London, said: "The first theft happened right outside my house whilst my van was parked outside, and the second happened whilst I was at a job in North West London. Even when you leave the van outside a job whilst you're working and nipping back and forth to the van, the tools can be gone in under five minutes – it's a really opportunistic crime."

Daniel Taylor, a gardener based in Manchester, said about his experience of tool theft: "I was working on a job at the time, and nipping back to the van as it was parked right outside – literally only a stone’s throw away. I didn’t hear a thing, it was over in minutes. Even the next door neighbour who was jet washing the whole day didn’t see or hear anything. These guys know exactly what to do, and they had targeted the lock on the van."

Tool theft regional hotspots 2022

Live in a tool theft hotspot? Win a van security package

If you live in a tool theft hotspot, you can enter our competition to win one of 10 van security packages worth up to £2,000 (terms and conditions apply).

As tool theft is set to get worse in winter, it’s important to protect your van and combat the fact that there’s less daylight.

Our data reveals that almost two fifths (38 per cent) of tradespeople have had their tools stolen from their van outside their home. A quarter (27 per cent) have had their tools stolen from the building site they were working at.

Tool thief stealing tools from car outside home
CCTV footage shows a thief stealing tools from someone's car on their driveway.

This article is the latest in our Stamp Out Tool Theft series. For more stories, see:

Have you experienced tool theft recently? Let us know 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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Sam Bromley

Written by

Sam Bromley

Sam has more than 10 years of experience in writing for financial services. He specialises in illuminating complicated topics, from IR35 to ISAs, and identifying emerging trends that audiences want to know about. Sam spent five years at Simply Business, where he was Senior Copywriter.

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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