A quarter of van drivers (27%) have been targeted by thieves stealing tools from their vehicle in the past 12 months, according to a new study from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
More than half (57%) of drivers of drivers admitted leaving tools in their van overnight, with almost a third not taking extra precautions to protect their kit, such as secondary locks or vehicle trackers.
An average of 20,000 cases are reported to police forces across the UK each year, with the estimated cost of replacement tools and equipment standing at £15 million a year, according to a Freedom of Information request sent to UK police forces.
David Hanna, head of sales operations at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Tool theft is a massive problem for tradespeople with thieves targeting vans parked up overnight across the country.
“It not only costs van drivers millions in buying new kit, but also impacts their ability to do their jobs, further impacting their finances.
“We’re urging people who own expensive equipment to take extra precautions to deter would-be thieves, whether that’s removing items overnight, adding extra security measures, or avoiding parking in unlit, secluded areas.”
London is the hotspot for tool theft with 55% of tradespeople having equipment stolen in the past year, followed by the West Midlands (33%), North East (28%), North West (25%), and East Anglia (23%).
The cost of tool theft to businesses is more than just replacement equipment as well, with tradespeople often unable to work while van locks are repaired. Downtime costs companies an estimated £550 a day per van.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles says the first step to protecting a vehicle is thinking about where you park it. Parking in a well-lit area or in a car park with CCTV will help reduce unwanted attention.
Parking them defensively – in other words, where doors are blocked by another vehicle or object – can also be a good deterrent.