ACCORDING to building trades insurer ECIC, the past year has seen the value of claims for theft of tools from contract sites and vans increase from £2865 on average per claim to £5091.
And the most common thefts are from vans parked in hotel car parks and B&Bs, as tradespeople working on short-term contracts board away from home.
As work in the construction sector picks up, ECIC is offering security advice for tradespeople to help beat the thieves.
there’s a particular warning for Ford Transit owners
In 2012/13, 17% of all loss claims reported to ECIC were for thefts, most being for tools stolen from vans. But higher-value items such as laptops were also the subject of a number of claims.
Tradespeople are advised to remove all items of value from vans parked overnight or any extended period when the van will be unattended.
And there’s a particular warning for Ford Transit owners. ECIC says that following a spate of thefts from Transits with no sign of forced entry it turned out that a tool, readily available on the internet, can be used to open the door of a van without force within 30 seconds – and can then be used to lock the door again leaving no sign of entry.
ECIC recommends some simple steps to reduce the risk of theft such as parking in well-lit places and close to buildings and security cameras.
Make sure vans are locked at all times and emptied at night and when going away – making frequent visits to the vehicle to store or retrieve tools can be frustrating, but it takes only a minute for a thief to gain entry and make off with a high-value tool.
Deadlocks can also help improve security and it’s worth considering proper slamlocks, which automatically lock doors when they are shut, providing extra protection over manufacturers’ door handles.
ECIC claims manager Ian Hollingworth told Business Vans: “Sadly, it is relatively easy to obtain specialist lock picks over the internet and while the cost of changing locks can seem high, it is certainly worth considering changing locks to incorporate an anti-pick replacement cylinder.”