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Survey Reveals 46% of Tradespeople Have Had Tools Stolen

9th Aug 2019

Boiler Guide Team
By: Boiler Guide Team
Updated: 21st July 2021

Heating installer with electrical qualification

Screwfix has published a new survey which reveals 46% of tradespeople who took part have been the victims of tool theft, with 39% reporting that their tools had been stolen at least twice.

Tool theft can have a devastating impact on its victims. According to a 2018 survey by Powertools2U, on average a tradesperson will need to spend £1,692 on replacing their stolen tools. For those who have their tools stolen on multiple occasions, this figure is often doubled rising up to £5,000 in some cases. Stolen tools can also result in up to 2 days of lost earnings which also has a significant impact on the victim both financially and personally.

Research suggests that tools are stolen every 23 minutes in the UK and approximately 62 thefts happen per day. In 2017 there were 22,749 thefts in 2017 which was a rise of nearly two-thirds in two years.

While the majority of the respondents to Screwfix's survey said they take measures to keep their tools secure such as removing tools from their van or installing CCTV, 56% believe that more should be done to help tradespeople to protect their livelihoods.

Screwfix is trying to tackle the issue through tool marking as well as inviting local authorities to host events across 630 Screwfix stores. The events are aimed at raising awareness and tips on the topic of tool theft prevention. In addition, Screwfix has developed the Milwaukee ONE-KEY™, a digital platform that has been integrated into several premium products and enables tradespeople to track missing tools and even remotely shut them down so they can no longer be used.

Trading Director at Screwfix, Matt Compton, said: "This survey shows that our tradespeople are looking for solutions which help them protect their tools and ultimately their livelihood. Additions such as Milwaukee ONE-KEY are an example of how we continue to develop our product range to ensure we offer what they need."

The issue of tool theft also hit the headlines in November 2018 thanks to an online petition by Peter Booth (@PBPlumber) called #noVANber. The petition was calling on the government to, "Investigate what more can be done to tackle van theft and van tool theft", stating:

"The loss of a van and/or tools can severely impact on a tradesperson. Even if they are insured, sourcing replacements, organising van repairs and rebooking appointments means significant time out of work. For those who cannot find affordable insurance, this can lead to the loss of livelihood."

The petition was open for 6 months from November 2018 and needed 10,000 figures to provoke a response from the government, which they provided on 22 November 2018:

"The Government takes these crimes very seriously. There are robust penalties in law to deal with theft and we are supporting the police to explore what more can be done to tackle stolen goods markets."

However, the petition needed 100,000 signatures for it to be considered for debate in parliament. When it closed in May 2019 the petition had reached 40,262 signatures.

Boiler Guide Team

About the author

Boiler Guide Team

Boiler Guide has been home to a host of heating experts who have helped millions of UK homeowners searching for advice and guidance. If you’ve got heating questions, we’ll have the answers.

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