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One in four van drivers targeted by thieves

A quarter of van drivers (27%) have been targeted by thieves stealing tools from their vehicle in the past 12 months, according to a new study from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

15 October 2021

One in four van drivers targeted by thieves

The cost of replacement tools and equipment is estimated to cost businesses £15 million a year. Tool theft not only costs in new kit, but also impacts a driver’s ability to work, further impacting finances. Downtime costs companies an estimated £550 a day per van.

A separate survey by Logistics UK found that stealing a van is likely to be planned, whereas a break in to steal tools is often an opportunistic crime. Vans are more likely to be stolen from a driver’s home driveway, and the next most likely place is on a street near the driver’s home. But when asked where a van is most likely to be broken into, most respondents said a street location near a driver’s home, or at the kerbside when the vehicle is parked.

According to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, more than half (57%) of drivers admitted leaving tools in their van overnight, with almost a third not taking extra precautions to protect their kit, such as secondary locks, alarms, or vehicle trackers.

However, 80% of respondents to the Logistics UK survey said they would pay extra for additional factory-fitted security measures.

How can you avoid a van break in?

Police advise van drivers to:

  • remove all tools from vehicles overnight
  • purchase a sign or sticker advising that no tools are left in your van overnight
  • park your vehicle in a garage if you have one
  • consider alarming the vehicle or fitting an internal security cage
  • install security lights if you park on a drive
  • visibly mark your machinery and tools
  • park your vehicle close to a wall so that the doors cannot be opened
  • report any suspicious activity to police immediately

Where are the hotspots?

An average of 20,000 cases are reported to police forces across the UK each year. Logistics UK has called for the Home Office to allocate a national crime reporting code to allow better understanding of the scale and reach of the crime.

In London, the number of tool thefts from vans has reached a shocking high, with 55% of tradespeople having equipment stolen in the past year. The West Midlands has the second highest rate (33%), followed by the North East (28%), North West (25%), and East Anglia (23%).

A spokesperson for Logistics UK said: “It must be recognised that this type of crime is not victimless, and its impacts are felt keenly by operators and their employees.

“More than 60% of respondents said content theft negatively impacted the driver. And worryingly, in more than one in eight content thefts, the driver or an employee was threatened.”

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