Organised crime is on the rise as gangs of thieves target tradesmen’s vans to steal expensive tools.
Simon Entwistle, a Rugby tradesman, had £10,000 worth of tools stolen from the back of his work van during a four-week period. Simon is a joiner and works as a fitter installing bathrooms and kitchens. He was dismayed when his van was broken into on four different occasions and wishes to warn other tradesmen of the increase in tool theft crime. As a self-employed tradesman, you build up your collection of tools over a number of years, and the loss of them could cause tradesmen to go bankrupt. The tradesman said that the thieves had sorted through his tools, only taking the expensive items, knowing which will bring the highest price.
Over the last twelve months, tool theft has increased by thirty per cent, with Yorkshire and the Midlands being most at risk. Thieves are becoming clever, using skeleton keys and peel and steal. This is a technique where the criminal uses his body weight to press on the van, enabling him to lift open the top of the side door – a trick which needs no tools and is being used at least five times a day to steal thousands of pounds’ worth of tools. These thefts appear to increase in number during the night, when homeowners are leaving their vehicles for long periods of time.
There are a number of things you can do to help keep your van and possessions safe. If possible, remove your expensive tools each night and park in a garage or on a driveway. If you are storing your tools or equipment inside the house or garage it is a good idea to look at your current locks on your doors and windows, so companies like Emergency Locksmiths in Cheltenham or other local businesses like this can help. Otherwise park in a well-lit street where there are CCTV cameras. Make sure you have insurance which covers all of your tools, and register them on the Immobilise register, making them traceable if stolen.
If anyone approaches you offering you tools for sale, it is wise to inform your local police station. If you wish to stay anonymous, ring Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111. If your livelihood was in jeopardy, you would do the same.