Over a quarter of van drivers have had tools stolen from their van in the past 12 months, according to new research.
A study by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) found 27 per cent had reported a theft, with 57 per cent saying they regularly leave tools in their vehicles overnight.
Despite taking this risk, 31 per cent do not protect their equipment with extra alarms, secondary locks, or vehicle trackers.
In the study of 1,000 UK van drivers, it was uncovered that London was the tool theft hotspot, with 55 per cent of tradespeople reporting theft in the past year, followed by the West Midlands (33 per cent), North East (28 per cent), North West (25 per cent), and East Anglia (23 per cent).
There are an average of 20,000 individual cases of tool theft reported to police each year, with the estimated cost of replacement tools and equipment being around £15 million a year.
It’s not just replacing the tools that costs businesses, either. Tradespeople often can’t work while waiting for tools to be restocked or locks repaired, with the downtime costing up to £550 per day per van.
VWCV suggests parking in a well-lit area or car park with CCTV where possible, to deter criminals from targeting your van. If this is not possible, blocking doors with another vehicle or an object can make life difficult for thieves.
It’s also worth looking at factory fit and aftermarket security upgrades, including more secure locks, anti-theft alarm systems and vehicle trackers.
However, the most effective solution is removing all valuable items from your van overnight.
David Hanna, head of sales operations at VWCV, said: “Tool theft is a massive problem for tradespeople with thieves targeting vans parked up overnight across the country.
“It not only costs van drivers millions in buying new kit, but also impacts their ability to do their jobs, further impacting their finances.
“We’re urging people who own expensive equipment to take extra precautions to deter would-be thieves, whether that’s removing items overnight, adding extra security measures, or avoiding parking in unlit, secluded areas.”