Tool theft is at an all-time high in the UK, and approximately 98% of tradespeople are worried that their tools may be stolen from their van. According to the West Midlands Police, a van is broken into approximately once every 23 minutes – that’s approximately 62 thefts a day, or 22630 a year.

For independent tradespeople, their tools are their life and not having them could put them out of work as they’re not cheap to replace. The lucky ones will be out of work for as long as a couple of days, but that’s a lot of money on top of the cost to replace the tools and repair any damage dealt throughout the theft.

It’s impossible for us to say ‘if you follow this guide, your tools will never be stolen’, however, we can say ‘if you follow this guide, it may reduce the likelihood of your tools been stolen’. If a thief wants to get to something, they will stop at nothing. We’ve created this blog so that you can take preventative measures in protecting your tools from been stolen.

Lock your van

This one sounds very obvious, but it can often be forgotten in situations when your hands are full or when you’re loading or unloading tools. If you fall guilty for leaving your van unlocked, even if its just for a minute or two, we recommend fitting a slam lock. This will automatically lock your van when the doors are slammed shut. This will prevent thieves from having easy access to your van.

Don’t leave your tools on display

Thieves can be tempted by anything, so even if they see a tool bag on the front seat they might be tempted to break into your van to see what’s in the back. It might be that you put all your expensive tools in your home at night so you don’t mind putting small bits on the front seat, however, if they break-in, even if they don’t get anything, you will still be left with a damaged vehicle and the costs of repairing it.

Store your keys in a safe location

Once you return home after a day of working, we recommend that you store the keys to your vehicle away from the front door. Maybe a cupboard, or in a safe location upstairs. A thief may see your van and attempt to steal the keys just by using something as simple as a coat hanger or fish keys through the letterbox. If they’ve got the keys, they’ve got your van.

Invest in additional security

Getting into your van is one thing, but if they’ve got an additional locked storage system to get through once they’re in, they are likely to give up. There is a wide selection of lockable storage systems suitable for fitting in your van, and this could be the difference between paying for just repairs for your van or paying for a whole new set of power tools. 

Parking in a safer area

Choosing to park in a street-lit area with CCTV could prevent a thief from attempting to break into your van. There are other ways to park your van that could prevent theft. One method used to break into vans is through the ‘peel and steal’ method which is where a thief will grab the top of the van’s back or side doors with their fingers and use their body weight to pull them down. Parking against a wall or fence will mean this method is impossible and they will have to result in trickier methods, which would deter them.


The worst part about having your van broken into and your expensive tools stolen is the financial impact it can have on you. It could mean you can’t work for weeks or months. Paying a little extra on your insurance will mean that if you do become a victim, you are covered and will be able to replace your tools and have any repairs paid for. Make sure that when you sign up for cover that you read the small print to see exactly what it covers, as you will need to ensure it covers any stolen tools and equipment as well as repairs.