10 ways to tackle tool theft from vans

10 ways to tackle tool theft from vans

Tool theft from vans is on the rise and is affecting businesses throughout the UK. We look at some of the measures you can introduce to help prevent theft or recover stolen tools.

Thieves are increasingly breaking into vans to steal tools either through brute force, using technology or seizing the opportunity when a driver has walked away from the vehicle and left it unlocked.

In 2023, 24,543 incidents of tool theft from vehicles were reported to UK police forces, up 14% from 2022, according to insurers Direct Line.

Just one tool theft incident can cost your business thousands of pounds. Aside from the cost of tools, there is the downtime and cost of having the vehicle repaired or in a worst case scenario, the cost of the vehicle itself if it is written off.

So how can you protect your van fleet and your drivers from tool theft? Here are 10 deterrents you can use and ways to help the police recover tools if they are stolen.

1.    Fit alarms and extra locks to your vans

If your vans don’t have a factory fitted alarm as standard it’s a worthwhile investment. For additional security, you could consider deadlocks or slamlocks. Deadlocks are controlled by the driver whereas a slamlock automatically locks the vehicle when the door is shut. At Reflex, we can equip all our vans with deadlocks or slamlocks as an additional security measure upon customer request.


2.    Give drivers parking advice

Advise your drivers to park in busy, well-lit areas which have security cameras, if possible. They may also be able to prevent their van from being broken into by parking next to a wall so that the rear or side doors are harder to access.


3.    Remove tools from vans overnight

More than half (56%) of tool thefts from a vehicle occur at night* so if your drivers take their vans home or have to stay overnight somewhere for work, advise them to remove the tools from their van, if possible. It’s a good idea to put stickers on your vans to say that no tools are left in the van overnight.


4.    Use signal blocking pouches

If your vans have keyless entry, ask your drivers to put the key fob in a signal blocking pouch (also known as a Faraday bag). This can prevent thieves from cloning the key’s signal to open the van.


5.    Put tools in a high security chest

Store tools in a high security lockable chest which can be bolted down to the vehicle cargo floor. Look for one which has been approved by an accredited body. To deter thieves from breaking into your vans, display a sticker to say that tools are kept in a high security tool chest.


6.    Fit trackers to tools

Aside from fitting trackers to your vans, did you know that you can fit trackers to your tools, which can help recover them if they’re stolen? At Reflex we offer MagTrack, a magnetic asset tracking device, which combines GPS tracking with cell-ID based location information, providing a reliable secondary tracking option when GPS is unavailable. As long as your tools have a magnetic part, MagTrack can be attached to them.


7.    Mark tools

Put asset stickers on your tools with the company name and address on. This makes the tools less desirable as even if the thieves manage to remove the asset stickers it may be noticeable that they have been scratched off. Alternatively, you could invest in a forensic marking solution. This will mean each tool has a unique signature and the police can trace the tool back to you.


8.    Photograph and register tools

Take photos of high value tools and register them online with the Immobilise National Property Register, which is supported throughout the UK by the police and other law enforcement agencies. It’s free to register. You will need to provide details of your tools by type, make, model, description, markings, date purchased and purchase cost, as well as identification codes such as the tool’s serial number or asset label, and any images.


9.    Fit CCTV cameras inside your vans

To capture any activity in the back of your vans you could fit CCTV cameras inside. This means that if one of your vans is broken into the police are likely to get a good image of the suspect for recognition purposes.


10.    Take out tool insurance

As well as van insurance you could take out insurance for tools. Look for a policy which covers tools overnight, regardless of their location. It’s also a good idea to keep an inventory of all the tools, their serial numbers, calibration certificates and proof of purchase should you need to prove to your insurer how much the tools were worth.



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