Northumbria is the worst region for tool theft in the UK

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  Posted by: electime      25th February 2022

The UK’s tool theft capitals: In 2020 close to 11,300 tool thefts were reported, equalling an average loss of £633,742 per area.

By submitting a freedom of information request to police constabularies, Toolstation have revealed the hotspots for tool theft across the UK.

  • Northumbria experienced the most tool thefts from the data gathered, with 1,398 thefts in 2020, estimating a cost of £2,082,954.
  • The most stolen tool was a drill, with a count of 380 drills taken in 2020, which is an overall cost of £50,160.
  • 47 per cent of these thefts happen due to car doors not being locked.
  • 73 per cent of tool thefts happen during weekdays, suggesting owners are not as careful on these days.

The top 10 regions most stolen from:

Constabulary Thefts in 2019 Thefts in 2020 Estimated costs of thefts in 2020
Northumbria 1,954 1,398 £2,082,954
Kent 1,528 1,138 £1,695,567
Lancashire 1,340 1,108 £1,650,868
Hertfordshire 1,546 1,048 £1,561,471
Northern Ireland 1,536 1,043 £1,554,021
Humberside 853 755 £1,124,915
Cambridgeshire 1,070 685 £1,020,618
Bedfordshire 1,011 647 £964,000
Avon and Somerset 849 587 £874,602
Dorset 505 417 £621,310


According to government data, tool thefts account for one in ten vehicle break-ins in the UK. This was overtaken only by thefts of electrical equipment (13 per cent), exterior fittings (19 per cent) and valuables (39 per cent).

The 10 most common stolen tools:

Item stolen Count Value Overall cost in 2020
Drill 380 £132 £50,160
Saw 196 £7 £1,372
Nail Gun 61 £93 £5,673
Toolbox 47 £24 £1,128
Hedge Trimmer 43 £105 £4,515
Screwdriver 41 £12 £492
Leaf Blower 25 £66 £1,650
Power Washer 22 £117 £2,574
Spanner 19 £10 £190
Hammer 16 £10 £160


How to prevent tool theft

Tools not only hold monetary value, they also represent the livelihood of tradespeople and so it’s important that toolboxes are protected at all costs. The best deterrent for theft is often added security.  So it may be worth investing in extra vehicle security, or even home security such as CCTV to protect your vehicle when parked overnight.

Toolstation spoke to expert Lee Devlin, MD at Homecure Plumbers to get his advice on preventing tool theft in the future, his words below:

  • Never leave your tools in your van or vehicle overnight if you can – Tools kept in a van or vehicle is too tempting for criminals. Where possible, store them in a locked premises/site unit when working away from home or take them home with you just to be sure.
  • Invest in a sticker – No, really! You can buy an inexpensive notice that says ‘tools are not left in here’ or ‘No tools are left in this vehicle overnight’ which can help deter thieves from attempting to break into your vehicle.
  • Park your van close to the side of your house/a wall/obstacle – When parking up, ensure your vehicles’ rear doors are facing an obstacle, with a maximum gap of 1ft, preventing thieves from opening doors sufficiently enough to get or see into.
  • Park your van in a locked garage – If you have access to a locked garage, be sure to use it, as this help to keep vehicles out of sight and adds an additional barrier for thieves.
  • Check your vehicles alarm regularly – Check the alarms and locking features on your vehicles are working and noises can be heard loudly and attract attention when sounding.
  • Have an immobiliser fitted to your vehicle – Some thieves might try to take the whole vehicle and not just tools. To prevent this, have an immobiliser installed (and check it is working) to prevent thieves from simply ‘hotwiring’ your vehicle.
  • Use a good quality lock/padlock on rear doors – Invest in good quality (and additional) locks for your rear doors to help provide added protection, increasing the effort would be thieves would need to put in to break into your vehicle and steal tools
  • Stop thieves from looking in and reduce sight lines – Blackout tints, films and even partitions can help reduce the sightlines of thieves and prevent them from casing out your vehicle or knowing what is kept inside.
  • Keep tool bags and boxes close on public transport – When travelling to jobs via public transport with tools, keep them close to you and preferably in front of you, so you can keep an eye on them, and don’t leave them unattended in overhead racks.
  • Ask employers and professional bodies for advice – New security devices and features are regularly being released, with professional bodies often providing both advice and updates on how to find and use new techniques.
  • Take out adequate insurance for both your vehicle and tools – If needed, especially for self-employed tradespeople, make sure your vehicle has the correct insurance and ideally invest in additional tool insurance to ensure you are doubly covered should they get lost or stolen in transit or on-site.”


By submitting a freedom of information request to police constabularies across the UK, we were able to gather statistics on tool thefts across UK regions from 2019 and 2020.

Using the statistics on how many tools were stolen and what tools were stolen we were able to calculate the estimated costs endured by those who had the items stolen from them.

To see the full study, visit: