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Tools stolen every 17 minutes in England Wales and Northern Ireland

by Jennie Ward

New data highlights alarming figures around tool theft and the impact it has on tradespeople, with Alison Traboulsi of Direct Line business insurance urging those purchasing second-hand tools “to question the provenance to limit opportunities for criminals to dispose of stolen goods.”

A tool has been stolen from a tradesperson every 17 minutes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since March 2021, according to new analysis of police force data from Direct Line business insurance.

In total, the analysis shows 31,161 tools were stolen, the majority of which (17,370) were taken by thieves breaking into vehicles.

Direct Line business insurance says this marks an increase since before the Covid-19 pandemic, as in the 2019 calendar year 28,681 cases of tool theft were reported, the equivalent of one stolen every 20 minutes.2

Direct Line business insurance points out this growing problem is unsurprisingly hitting tradespeople hard financially, as with the average value of a stolen tool costing £3852, there has been £80 million worth of equipment taken over the last year, compounding the issues for tradespeople trying to bounce back from the pandemic.

While thefts from London represented 62 per cent of all incidents (19,351), the data shows Northumbria came out on top when population density was considered:

Regions with the highest levels of tool theft per resident – Direct Line business insurance, 2022:

Alison Traboulsi, Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance, commented: “At a time when people are facing serious cost of living challenges, heartless criminals are taking away the livelihoods of hardworking tradespeople. It is not just the value of the tools stolen, theft can cause big delays on site, causing huge additional costs and causing serious scheduling headaches. We urge those considering purchasing second-hand tools to question the provenance to limit opportunities for criminals to dispose of stolen goods. 

“At Direct Line, we are committed to helping tradespeople deal with the consequences of tool theft so that they can get back to work quickly. Our Tools and Business Equipment cover, which is available with Public Liability insurance, comes with Tools Essentials. This service helps tradespeople get back to work quickly by helping them to replace their essential tools within 24 hours of a valid tools claim, by providing an upfront faster payment of up to £1,500, subject to a few checks. Claims can be reported between 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays, policy limits and exclusions apply.

“We also offer a range of van insurance covers which can help tradespeople deal with damage to or theft of their vehicle.”

For more information about Direct Line’s van and tradesperson insurance, visit:           


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