IT may be foolish to think that, with Brexit and knife crime, either politicians or the police have the bandwidth to prioritise the petition about tool theft that is currently being publicised. But the momentum has started and it seems most sensible to maintain it with the hope of getting a result further down the track.

I have heard that the answer for most trades, and possibly even the best advice from the police, is for tradespeople to make every eff ort to insure their tools at realistic replacement prices and take basic security precautions in the van and at the workshop. Also, a comprehensive list of your tools and their serial numbers shows the insurance company that you have done your best. And if the tools get recovered then there is the vaguest chance you could get them back.

Insurance may get the tools replaced, but the experience of being burgled still leaves people feeling insecure and with the horrible notion that it could happen again.

Another downside is that insurance claims often take weeks to pay out, even if the insurance company accepts the loss, so potentially the tradesperson could be losing a lot of money while unemployed


due to loss of tools.

In recent years, just about every tradesperson or tool dealer that I speak to has stories to tell about daring and opportunistic thieves, well planned raids and van doors or roofs literally bent or cut open like the proverbial sardine tin to get to the tools inside. It is a war of attrition – as fast as trades respond with countermeasures, thieves become more cunning in their modus operandi too.

In these days of fi nger pointing on Facebook and Twitter, I am sure that certain groups of people are being blamed for the thefts, and that is probably human nature. But the truth is – like most things – more complicated. There are probably gangs of professional thieves targeting jobsites, vans and workshops that can be ‘cased’ for likely value and access. But with modern power tools in particular having a high value and being easy to dispose of on the black market, there must also be

thieves who operate on the fl y and who lift anything if there is the slightest chance of getting away with it.

What can you do?

Probably the fi rst and most obvious thing is to have a very close look at how to improve security in the van. It is not enough to stick a ‘No tools left in this van

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