How to protect your work van from tool theft
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The UK tool theft epidemic is showing no sign of slowing down, with thieves becoming more sophisticated and choosing higher value targets.

Claims data from Simply Business released in 2018 highlights a number of worrying trends, including an overall increase in the number of thefts over the past few years and more expensive tools being targeted.

Tool thieves up their game

While the ‘peel and steal’ technique was prevalent a few years ago, electronic key fobs are being used more and more. While it doesn’t damage the vehicles, it makes the culprits harder to trace – and harder to ensure your van is secure.

The ‘relay’ technique, where one person intercepts the signal from the owner’s key fob and the other uses a new fob to mimic the signal, is alarmingly easy to set up. There’s no fancy hacking required – you can buy the fobs used for this technique for as little as £30 on websites like Ebay and Amazon.

Claims soar as thieves go for bigger hauls

And unfortunately, there’s more bad news for van owners. The data shows that thieves seem to be getting wise to how much different tools are worth, and are going for the ones that are likely to bring them more money.

Simply Business analysed over 3,000 tool theft claims from the past few years, and found that the average claim has risen significantly. Five per cent of claims are now for over £5,000, while some are even as high as £11,000.

Are you likely to be hit?

The bad news is that tool thieves are operating all over the country.

Many of the worst affected areas are bigger cities, including Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol, and Nottingham. However, there are some places on the list that may surprise you. Chelmsford and Tunbridge Wells take 5th and 6th place on the 10 worst affected areas respectively.

Incredibly, more than one in 10 of the tradespeople insured by Simply Business were targeted last year.

Worst affected tool theft areas
1. London
2. Sheffield
3. Birmingham
4. Leicester
5. Chelmsford
6. Tunbridge Wells
7. Bristol
8. Nottingham
9. Northampton
10. Reading

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