Tool theft from vans has soared by 15% in the last three years costing businesses over £46 million, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
Police forces across the UK have recorded over 64,000 cases of theft from commercial vehicles since April 2015 with a record 23,859 incidents in 2017/18.
Figures obtained by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles via a Freedom of Information request* reveal the total cost of equipment stolen from vans – which includes power tools and heavy machinery – is more than £46 million over the last three years.
The worst area for tool theft is central London with the Metropolitan Police recording over 8,000 cases a year worth an average of £11 million. Northumbria (4,000 reports a year) and West Yorkshire (1,000) were second and third. Humberside police recorded the biggest rise over the three years with incidents up by over 1,000%.
The cost of tool theft to businesses is more than just replacement equipment with drivers often unable to work while vans are restocked and locks repaired. Downtime costs companies an estimated £550 a day per van.
The first step to protecting your vehicle is thinking about where you park it. Parking in a well-lit area or in a car park with CCTV will definitely help reduce unwanted attention. Where this cannot be achieved or if you have more than one vehicle, parking them defensively – in other words, where doors are blocked by another vehicle or object – can be a good deterrent.
Trevor Hodgson-Phillips, head of service and parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said, “Today’s findings are startling as it shows the problem is only getting worse right across the UK. Tool theft costs owner drivers and businesses millions of pounds each year in insurance claims and downtime.
“Any amount of time where a van can’t be used is additional cost on top of the replacement tools. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is committed to supporting our customers wherever possible and that includes preventing them from becoming victims of tool theft.”
* Freedom of Information request, August 2018. 34 of 47 police forces across UK responded