The trades lost more than £80m worth of stolen tools in last three years

The trades lost more than £80m worth of stolen tools in last three years

More than £83 million worth of tools have been stolen across England and Wales in the last three years, according to new research from Direct Line for Business.

This equates to £83,500 of equipment going missing every day. Despite reporting these incidents to police forces, just three per cent of the tools are ever reunited with owners, meaning tradespeople across the country have lost more than £80 million worth of tools.

Since 2017, an estimated 217,000 tools have been stolen, with a third (33 per cent) of these reported in London. Yorkshire and Humberside (21 per cent) and the North West (12 per cent) also account for a substantial proportion of stolen tools.

Number and percentage of tool thefts per region from 2017-2019

Region Estimated number of incidents of tool theft, 2017-2019
Number Percentage
London 71,995 33%
Yorkshire and Humber 46,329 21%
North West 27,072 12%
East of England 19,313 9%
South West 17,376 8%
North East 14,876 7%
East Midlands 11,870 5%
West Midlands 5,837 3%
Wales 2,325 1%
South East No data No data
England and Wales total 216,992 100%

Source: Direct Line for Business 2019

It is also expected that these figures could be higher as no police forces from the South East, which accounts for a sixth of the population, responded to the FOI request. Based on overall UK figures, this means that the actual figure could exceed 260,000 tools going missing.

When it comes to where the tools are taken from, more than a quarter (28 per cent) are stolen from vehicles, while 20 per cent are taken from private residences and just 10 per cent go missing from worksites or places of business. The average value of a reported stolen tool is £385, meaning the overall figure to the industry could be substantial.

In response to this issue, Direct Line for Business has launched ‘Overnight Tools cover,’ which carries an additional premium, which insures customers tools in a locked vehicle overnight and will be invaluable for tradespeople who are often working at a customer’s site and don’t have access to a locked building for storing tools overnight.


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