Tradespeople rely on their tools and equipment to be able to do their jobs. Having these tools stolen can have a devastating impact professionally, financially and even mentally.
In the current climate, where the cost of living is soaring and world events such as the conflict in Ukraine has put strain on supply chains, the demand for stolen goods has rocketed. In research conducted by NFU Mutual, almost 9 in 10 tradespeople and contractors have been victims of theft.
To combat this, the new Equipment Theft (Prevention) Bill has passed through the House of Commons and is expected to be signed into law later this summer. This bill aims to ensure high value tools and machinery are marked, registered and traceable if stolen, making it harder for thieves to sell stolen tools, and helping to re-unite them with their owners, if stolen.
But it’s still important to implement precautionary measures, and tradespeople are being urged to step up their security to both protect their livelihoods and help deter criminals from stealing goods in the first place.
Safely secure your van or vehicle
- If you must leave tools in your vehicle, store them in a robust, lockable toolbox or van vault that is fixed in place
- Pay close attention to where you park, ensuring it’s a safe, well-lit area, ideally somewhere busy or with CCTV
- Where possible, park with the doors close against a wall, garage or fence to limit access
- Install slam locks or deadlocks on all doors
- Consider a bulkhead or grille to create a barrier between the cab and load area
- Always double check the vehicle is locked before leaving, as some criminals use jamming devices to gain access
Mark, register and record your tools
- Take photos of all your tools, serial numbers, and proof of purchase so that you have a comprehensive record of your equipment
- Register your tools online with a free database service
- To make your equipment less desirable to thieves, clearly mark all tools with something unique, such as your name and postcode
- Consider engraving, etching, ceramic or forensic marking to ensure your details can’t be removed and to assist the police in returning them to you
Don’t make it easy for thieves
- Whether your equipment is kept inside a van or a building, don’t leave tools on display
- Don’t stockpile high value items such as lead and copper, or leave them lying around for longer than necessary
- Secure any free-standing equipment to a fixed point, even within a building
- Restrict and control vehicular access to the work site
- Double check all locks and security measures before leaving any site
- When working offsite, ensure you plan ahead, thinking about your destination, route, and any extra security measures you need to take
- Always remain vigilant of your surroundings
Be prepared for the worst
Prevention is always better than a claim, but sometimes the worst is unavoidable. Always ensure you’re protected with appropriate insurance, and that you understand what is and isn’t covered with your policy.
NFU Mutual provides cover for a variety of trade businesses – from builders and plumbers, to carpenters and electricians. It’s also flexible so you can choose optional covers to meet your needs now and in the future.
Find out more at Protecting your trade is our trade | NFU Mutual.
The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited (No. 111982). Registered in England. Registered Office: Tiddington Road, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 7BJ. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. A member of the Association of British Insurers.