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Tool Theft from Vehicles: Protecting Your Valuable Assets

As a tradesperson, your tools are your livelihood. Without them, you cannot do your job and earn a living. Unfortunately, tool theft from vehicles is a significant problem in the UK, with a staggering 83% of builders having experienced tool theft in the last decade, according to the Federation of Master Builders. Another report by Tradespeople Against Tooltheft reveals that 78% of tradespeople have had their tools stolen, with only 1% fully recovering them. These statistics are alarming and highlight the importance of taking proactive measures to secure your vehicles and tools.

One of the most effective ways to prevent tool theft is to minimise the time your tools spend in your vehicle. Ideally, tools should be stored on a secure site or in well-secured buildings overnight. However, this is not always practical, especially for those who work on multiple job sites or have a large quantity of tools. In these cases, it is crucial to invest in high-quality, secure tool storage solutions for your vehicle.

When choosing a tool vault for your vehicle, look for ones with Sold Secure certification. These vaults should be constructed from 2-3mm steel sheets and secured with shielded padlocks, mortice deadlocks, or good quality anti-pick, anti-drill, and anti-rust locks protected by hardened steel plates. It is also important to fix the vault to immovable parts of the vehicle, such as the floor or solid bulkhead, to prevent easy removal.

In addition to physical security measures, it is essential to keep an up-to-date record of all your tools and equipment. This includes the type of tool, make and model, and serial number. Photographs of your tools can also be beneficial, especially if they show unique markings. Regularly updating these records and photos is important, as tool appearance can change over time due to wear and tear.

Another effective deterrent against tool theft is marking your tools. This can be done through chemical etching, tamper-proof labels, or forensic marking liquids with unique DNA codes. These measures make it difficult for thieves to sell stolen tools and increase the chances of recovery if they are stolen. Displaying signs indicating the use of forensic marking can also function as a powerful deterrent, as most criminals are aware that forensic marking links them directly to the crime.

To further protect your tools, consider using police-approved online asset registers to record tool details and photos. These registers can be easily updated using mobile apps, ensuring that your records are always current.

Implementing a comprehensive vehicle security checklist is another crucial step in preventing tool theft. This checklist should include verifying the functionality of vehicle alarms, immobilisers, locks, and any after-market security devices. Regularly inspecting the vehicle's bulkhead for signs of damage or tampering is also important.

Training your employees on vehicle security and key management is equally essential. Drivers should be trained to always lock vehicle doors, never leave keys in an unoccupied vehicle, park in well-lit areas, and park with rear or side doors against walls or immovable objects. Establishing a process for employees to report any signs of vehicle or tool security damage or tampering is also crucial.

By implementing these security measures and staying vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of tool theft from your vehicles. Remember, investing in the security of your tools is an investment in your livelihood and peace of mind. Do not wait until it is too late – take action now to protect your valuable assets.


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