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FEATURE “


overnight’ sticker on the back door. You never know, some wise guy might just be tempted to check. He may fi nd nothing but the door of the van will be a casualty. There is some debate as to whether trades should advertise on the sides of their vans. Clearly it can be useful to gain extra customers, but it also advertises the sort of tools that thieves may want to steal and cause the van to be a target.


In the event that a tradesperson decides that advertising is needed on the side of a van, then clearly security must be beefed up considerably – extra heavy-duty locks that promise a lot of eff ort and noise to break open are the best kind to deter theft.


Vans too, vary in their built-in levels of security. One major manufacturer of vans in Europe has been criticised recently because it has proved to be astonishingly easy to break open the doors of their popular van, and users have felt that they deserve better design and a recognition of the manufacturer’s responsibility to provide better basic security. Sharing security tips on these sorts of weaknesses (or strengths) via social media can help trades collectively fi ght back – even if the thieves may be able to access the information too.


I have heard several stories of thieves cutting the van roof off to access all the tools inside. This is unusual, and the only cure for it is probably an internal cage and


Remove the temptation


A strong piece of advice is to remove all the tools at night and place them in a secure, brick-built store if you can. A builder I know in Brighton not only does this, but he then parks his alarmed vehicle in front of the door and closes an electric gate before


A strong piece of advice is to remove all the tools at night and place them in a secure, brick-built store if you can.


motion alarms – and since it is a costly remedy, the value of the tools has to justify the expense.


Not all theft takes place at night – it could be on a jobsite where tools are needed on the job and would therefore be left in the van until needed. In this case the tool owner should seriously consider investing in the best and most secure tool chests. One I have personally inspected is the ToolVault from Armorgard and they are well made with


numbers of security features and very stout locks. Again, even a thick steel chest may not be enough to prevent a determined thief from getting in, but the Armorgard products would make it as diffi cult as possible for a thief to do the job either quickly or quietly.


setting a security light and CCTV camera in motion. Once burgled to the tune of several thousand pounds, he takes no chances.


Tracking and identifying


There are some tool systems from companies like Milwaukee and Bosch that can track tools via sensors embedded in the tool. But they have a limited range and are more aimed at locating lost tools than preventing theft.


It makes sense to have a tracker or two fi tted to the van, but each individual tool should be coded, engraved or marked with indelible ink to identify its ownership. Mark the tools in obvious places, but also in not so obvious places, so thieves have to work hard to scrub out the marks. These marks might also aff ect the way in which the tool can be resold.


The problem of tool theft has become so serious that there are companies around that will help trades with counter measures. Experts in locking and security can beef up your van and electronics buff s can insert trackers into tools and ensure permanent marking of tools for easy identifi cation. The honest need to fi ght back against the dishonest – your living may depend on it.





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