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London Tool Theft – How Can You Protect Your Tools?

London Tool Theft – How Can You Protect Your Tools?
25 January 2022 | Updated 27 January 2022

Metropolitan Police figures show the number of tool thefts in each London borough and the total cost of tool theft in the capital for 2019 and 2020.

With engineers, construction workers, and all manner of people who work in the built environment needing specialist tools and equipment for their daily work, tool theft is an ongoing issue, and it didn’t slow down during lockdown.

Herts Tool Company, a business that offers tool hire to construction businesses and tradespeople through London and the surrounding counties, has studied the data to discover which areas in London suffer the most from tool theft in 2019 and 2020.


How Many Tools Were Stolen in London Between 2019-2021?


From 2019 up to May 2021, there were 28,338 tool thefts across London.

From £20.7 million in 2019, the total value of tool theft in London dropped to £17.5 million in 2020, a decrease of 15 per cent.

When figures are broken down to the daily cost of tool theft, an average of almost £57,000 worth of tools was stolen each day in 2020.



What Tools Were Stolen in London?


Powered hand tools are the most commonly stolen tool within this data set, with 32,067 thefts of powered-hand tools versus 2,993 thefts of non-powered counterparts between January 2019 and April 2021.

Garden tools are next on the list with 1,942 thefts, followed by building materials (585) and ladders/steps/trestles (538).

Building materials are retrieved most often: 4 per cent of the time. But even this figure is a small fraction of the materials stolen, underlining how difficult it can be to recover stolen tools.



Picture: a graphic showing the tool theft data in London by type of tool. The data shows that powered hand tools are the most commonly stolen tool within this data set, with 32,067 thefts of powered-hand tools versus 2,993 thefts of non-powered counterparts between January 2019 and April 2021. Image Credit: Herts Tools


Where are the Tool Theft Hotspots in London?


Breaking down tool theft into individual boroughs, two neighbouring north London boroughs: Barnet (1,917 offences) and Enfield (1,833) top the list.

Enfield suffered almost a third as many cases as the next three boroughs: Ealing (1,273), Waltham Forest (1,238) and Haringey (1,237).

At the other end of the scale, the five boroughs with the lowest numbers of thefts reported were all in the same pocket of south/south-west London: Merton (475), Richmond upon Thames (439), Hammersmith and Fulham (371), Kensington and Chelsea (371) and Kingston upon Thames (327).



Picture: a graphic showing the tool theft hotspots in London. Image Credit: Herts Tools


Preventing Tool Theft


  • Don’t store tools in your van overnight. If you have to, park with rear or sliding doors against a wall or fence. Parking in a busy area covered by CCTV will also deter thieves.
  • Install safety measures in your van such as an alarm, a lockable interior cabinet or interior deadbolts for your van. You can also make thieves aware of the safety measures you’ve taken by placing stickers on your van to deter them.
  • Make your tools less attractive to thieves by removing branded nameplates and marking them with neon spray paint. This will also make them easier to identify if they do get stolen.


Picture: a photograph of a person working with a power drill. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 25 January 2022


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