Only 1% of stolen tools are ever recovered
GBP17.5 million of tools were stolen in London alone in 2020 with GBP57,000 of tools stolen every day in 2020
Metropolitan Police data has revealed that only 1% of stolen powered hand tools are ever recovered, costing tradesmen in London more than GBP38 million in the last two years, and GBP17.5 million in 2020 alone.
New data shows there were 28,338 tool thefts reported across London from 2019 up to May 2021 this year.
Barnet, Enfield, Ealing, Waltham Forest and Haringey are the five boroughs where figures were highest, with thefts in Barnet (1,917) accounting for nearly 15% of the total.
By contrast, Merton (475), Richmond upon Thames (439), Hammersmith and Fulham (371), Kensington and Chelsea (371) and Kingston upon Thames (327) suffered the fewest reports.
The findings, collated by London plant hire specialists Herts Tools, come from a freedom of information request to the Metropolitan Police. The data reveals the impact of tool theft on livelihoods, the cost of the crime and the most affected areas in London.
Thieves are 10 times more likely to steal powered hand tools than non-powered hand tools, with 32,067 taken from 2019 to 2021, compared to 2,993 non-powered hand tools.
1,942 garden tools were stolen in the same period.
Year on year, the cost of tool theft is falling: it dropped from GBP20.7 million in 2019 to GBP17.5 million in 2020, a decrease of 15%. However, the average cost of tool theft per month, so far in 2021, is still GBP1.46 million.
Stefano Lobban, Director at Herts Tools, said:
“It’s been a tough couple of years for tradesmen and people working in construction, with Covid-19 really restricting their ability to work. The last thing they need is their tools being stolen, but this new data shows us just how common that reality is, particularly in London.
“Unfortunately, thieves are often attracted to high-price items like powered hand tools.
Of course, when these items are stolen, it’s even harder for tradesmen to replace them due to the high cost.
“We just hope people take these new figures as a warning and make sure they’re vigilant.”
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “With eight in 10 builders reporting that they have had tools stolen before, tool theft is a serious issue for Britain’s builders. It’s a shame that over a 40-year working life, a builder will typically lose GBP10,000 and six working days to tool theft.
Aside from the detrimental financial impact, tool theft causes mental health issues and stress for builders.
“Builders can protect themselves by bringing tools inside at night, adding extra locks to their van and marking tools. Installing an affordable CCTV system is a further option, as well as registering tool serial numbers on an online database. Builders should also check their insurance policies to see what they have covered.”
How to prevent tool theft:
Don’t store tools in your van overnight
If you have to leave tools in your van, park in a busy area covered by CCTV
Get an alarm, a lockable interior cabinet or interior deadbolts for your van
Make your tools less attractive to thieves by removing brand name plates and marking them with neon spray paint
Use stickers to tell thieves about security measures and act as a deterrent
To stay up to date on the latest, trends, innovations, people news and company updates within the global security market please register to receive our newsletter here.