More than £46 million worth of tools reported stolen from vehicles in the last six months

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  Posted by: electime      4th November 2021

More than £46 million worth of tools have been reported as stolen from vehicles in the UK since the easing of lockdown in April 2021, equating to an astonishing £245,893 stolen every day, according to an analysis of data from UK police forces by Direct Line business insurance.

Tradespeople are bearing the brunt, with nearly 4 in 10 (38 per cent) having fallen victim to tool theft in the past, separate research by the insurer revealed. This is particularly worrying because with the clocks going back and the nights getting longer, the crime is likely to become even more common.

This is having a devastating impact on tradespeople’s livelihoods. On average, they estimate that it would take them a full working week (4.9 days) to replace the equipment, potentially preventing them from carrying out jobs and hitting them hard in the pocket.

Despite the threat, over half of tradespeople (56 per cent) leave tools in a vehicle overnight, with nearly six in ten of this group (59 per cent) not even having specific insurance in place to help deal with the consequences of tool theft.

This is despite nearly a third (31 per cent) of tradespeople being more concerned about the problem now, than they were before the pandemic, which suggests that awareness isn’t always translating into action.

Tool theft is a risk for tradespeople all over the UK, but London is a gold mine for thieves. 12,769 reported cases of tool theft from vehicles were recorded in the capital since the easing of lockdown in April, followed by West Yorkshire (400 cases), Northumbria (233 cases) and Kent (217 cases).

Top UK regions for tool theft from vehicles – Direct Line business insurance, 2021:

Region Number of cases of theft since April 2021
London 12,769
West Yorkshire 400
Northumbria 233
Kent 217
Surrey 164
Hertfordshire 140
Dorset 135
Lancashire 132
Merseyside 91
Avon and Somerset 84

Promisingly, some tradespeople are implementing measures to protect their tools and livelihoods from thieves. These include:

  • Keeping tools in a property/garage overnight (30 per cent)
  • Keeping tools out of sight when they are stored (28 per cent)
  • Fitting an alarm on their vehicle (25 per cent)
  • Installing Van CCTV or dashcam (22 per cent)
  • Parking their vans in a safe and sensible space to deter potential thieves (21 per cent)

Jonny McHugh, Business Manager, Direct Line business insurance, said:

“Sadly, tool theft continues to be a real threat to tradespeople across the UK. While it’s promising to see some implement measures to protect their tools, it’s concerning that so many leave them in their vehicles overnight and do not have the correct insurance in place to help them deal with the consequences of theft.

“Our Tools Essentials service provides tradespeople with comprehensive cover, helping to safeguard them from expensive setbacks caused by the loss or theft of vital equipment. It helps replace essential tools within 24 hours of a valid claim so that tradespeople can get back to work quickly, minimising disruption.”

The Direct Line business insurance Tools Essentials service helps to replace essential tools within 24 hours, with an upfront faster payment of up to £1,500, subject to a few checks. Tools Essentials is available to every customer who has a valid tools claim and policy with Direct Line business insurance. Overnight Tools Cover, which carries an additional premium and excess, insures our customers tools, up to £10,000, when kept in a locked vehicle overnight. This is 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.  Claims can be reported between 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays. Policy limits and exclusions apply.

For more information about Direct Line business insurance’s Tools Essentials Service and Overnight Tools  cover, please visit our website:

For tips on protecting tools from theft, please visit: