One in three tradespeople have had their tools stolen, research shows, costing £3,000 on average through lost earnings and replacing the tools. 

The findings are being highlighted by Simply Business to encourage the government to change legislation calling for tighter regulations with regards to the selling of second-hand tools, and higher minimum fines for those convicted of theft.

For those undergoing home improvements, or even building their own home, the security of tradespeople’s tools is paramount. Should tools be stolen, the entire project’s schedule could be thrown off balance, causing costly delays for the homeowner.

Furthermore, a number of self builders and renovators will use and store their own tools on a home project and, as such, having a secure place for these tools is essential, as is a comprehensive insurance policy.

Simply Business, which insures small and medium-sized house builders (SMEs), has launched the Stamp Out Tool Theft campaign to raise awareness of the issue. As part of the campaign it drove a mobile billboard to the front door of parliament, and has set up a petition calling for stricter government legislation. 

Homebuilding & Renovating is committed to stamping out tool theft and is backing this petition to encourage greater deterrents for stealing tools.

Is the Government Doing Enough?

In the survey of over 1,000 tradespeople, Simply Business investigated a variety of statistics regarding tool theft, and asked tradespeople whether they thought they government was doing enough. 

A total of 84% felt the government needs to do more to prevent tool theft, while 60% said there should be longer sentences for convicted thieves, and 55% believe there should be greater fines for those convicted. 

The consequences of tool theft are significant. Amongst the one in three tradespeople who had their tools stolen, the £3,000 average cost comprised of £870 lost earnings, and £2,135 replacing lost tools. 

Furthermore, a quarter of those surveyed said that tool theft meant they couldn’t work for a number of days, while a tenth were unable to work for over a week. 

Reducing Theft Risk

One in five reported having their tools stolen from their van while parked in the street, where many tradespeople will park when working on a home improvement project.

To reduce the risk of tradespeople experiencing thief, Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business, recommends five tips:

  • Park against a wall – so it’s difficult for sliding or rear doors to be opened
  • Remove tools overnight
  • Add identification marks to tools – making it difficult for stolen items to be sold on
  • Record serial numbers of tools
  • Make sure tools are insured

Montoya said: “Tradespeople are the backbone of Britain, but they’re being stopped in their tracks on a daily basis due to the ongoing tool theft epidemic. This is why we’re calling on the government to Stamp Out Tool Theft once and for all. We want to see greater fines imposed on those convicted, as well as tighter regulations on the selling of second hand tools which, because of their high value, are often stolen to sell on the black market. 

“Putting these two measures in place will go a long way in combating tool theft, protecting the lives and jobs of millions of tradespeople up and down the country.”

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