In recent months, more and more reports have been filling the media in regards to tool theft. From the methods they use to break in, to the sheer number of thefts that are taking place, the issue has been termed an epidemic. In fact, in the run-up to Christmas, more and more tradespeople were left out of pocket after having their tools stolen from their vans.
But what is being done about it?
At the moment, it is recommended that tradespeople keep their tools safe by avoiding leaving them in their vans. However, of course, this is not always possible. And, despite extra methods being taken such as parking against walls and implementing aftermarket security, tool theft is still on the rise! Take a look at the top tips on how to keep your tools safe here.
Therefore, tradespeople are now calling for more to be done. Specifically, they want tougher penalties for the thieves who commit these crimes. But that’s not all. Alongside this, they also want stricter guidelines and laws to be put in place for the selling of second-hand tools too.
Lee Watts, who started a campaign to try and achieve this goal, describes the issue. He stated: “Over the Christmas break, literally hundreds of contractors from all over the country have been contacting me or posting their stories on social media sites.”
Lee reported that in fact, one tradesman, Chris Ovens revealed that he caught thieves stealing his tools on CCTV. And, when looking back at the footage, found that one of the thieves put his thumb up to the camera to say thank you! Lee described: “This is how confident they are because they know that they are not getting caught.”
His campaign has had some positives though with thousands of tradespeople signing his petition. Alongside this, the Home Office has also acknowledged that there is a major issue with tool theft. However, there is still a way to go before things are changed.
Lee described: “They [Home Office] have now acknowledged that we have a major problem with tool theft after initially implying that vehicle crime was at an all-time low and that tool theft only accounted for 8% of reported vehicle crime.”
“I have requested that they take into account the number of vans on our roads compared to cars and to then re-evaluate that percentage.”
“We are also speaking to insurance companies to provide much better policies for tradesmen and women.”
“Especially those who have been affected by tool theft.”
“My local MP Mr Tom Watson is also doing a lot of work with my campaign and has already got it into the House of Commons.”
Alongside this, Lee described that he had also contacted some of the major hotel groups too. Including that of Premier Inn, Travelodge and Holiday Inn. There, he has requested that they look into providing extra security for work vans. Specifically, security patrolled van only parking areas for tradespeople who are having to stay in a hotel whilst working away.
Lee stated: “Thieves are targeting hotel car parks at an alarming rate.”
He added: “It is an increasing problem countrywide for all tradesmen and women.”
“It takes years of hard work and a large expense to build up a toolkit and a van that enables you to earn an honest living.”
“More and more people are being affected by this crime and it needs to be stopped.”
Needing to get as many signatures as possible, Lee needs your help in being able to take this petition to parliament and get things changed. If you think you can help, head over to the petition here.
Take a look at Lee’s plans for the petition here.
So what do you think? Have you fallen a victim of tool theft? Should there be tougher sentencing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.