Tradespeople hit with 30 per cent rise in tool thefts in 2016

Tool theft across the UK reached an estimated £35.5 million last year, as trades people see a continued rise, says Simply Business.

Tradespeople across Britain have been struck with a rise in tool theft as campaigners battle the rise in van break-ins and ‘peel and steal’ thefts.

2016 saw a 30.5 per cent rise in the number of tool thefts compared to 2015, up on the previous year-on-year increase of 28.5 per cent at the end of 2015, according to insurance claims data from business insurance broker Simply Business, who provide insurance to over 125,000 tradespeople nationwide.

The total value of theft claims processed by Simply Business has rocketed from £1,926,228.88 in 2015 to £2,797,169.73 in 2016, reflecting the trade community’s growing concerns over the safety of their equipment. Tools valued at an estimated £35.5 million may have been stolen across the UK in 2016, with the total costs of tool replacement, lost time and clients all adding to the toll on tradespeople.

From a sample of over 1,000 tool theft claims, Simply Business discovered the average tool theft claim has also gone up by over 40 per cent in the past year, reaching £1,626 in 2016.

Winter sees a spike in tool thefts throughout the year, with October and November seeing the highest number of tool thefts, the data reveals.

Simply Business’ data also suggests that mid-week is the most dangerous time for thefts, with Thursdays seeing the biggest weekly spike in thieves’ activity.

Outside of London, Bristol had the most reported tool thefts, whilst Rotherham’s tradespeople suffered the most significant loss by value. Sheffield, Northampton, Leicester and Leeds are the next most affected cities, with Birmingham Bradford and Manchester propping up the table.

Simply Business also finds that Thursday (16.5 per cent) saw the biggest weekly spike in thefts, while Sunday (10.7 per cent) is the safest day.

The rise in tool thefts shows no signs of letting up, and some regions may be hit harder than others – South Yorkshire and the East Midlands, for example, appear particularly prone to break-ins.

Fiona McSwein, chief customer officer at Simply Business, explains, ‘Unfortunately, tradespeople are an easy target and their vehicles are often vulnerable – even empty vehicles can be damaged, with thieves looking for expensive tools to steal.

‘Whilst the main priority will always be for the police to catch the culprits, we know that it’s important for tradespeople to put preventative security measures in place, and insure their livelihoods should the worst happen.

‘We hope that by shining a light on the areas most affected, tradespeople in these areas – and indeed the rest of the UK – can consider their next steps and help tackle this growing problem.’

Further reading on tool theft

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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