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The top 10 tool theft hotspots of the UK

The rising cost of living and trading has put businesses under immense pressure. Whilst stolen tools could seem a minor inconvenience, losing tools and large-scale equipment could be disastrous for a business already suffering in the current economic climate.

Whilst tool thefts can happen anywhere in the country, we have found certain areas are prominent hotspots and being aware of them could protect you from a loss of earnings and higher insurance premiums.

Through gathering Freedom of Information data from local councils across the UK, we’ve identified which areas suffered the most commercial tool thefts since January 2020.

Tools theft

Cambridgeshire took the top spot with 9,433 total thefts, a significant lead ahead of South Yorkshire in second place with 6,123 thefts. Yorkshire appeared in the top ten twice more, with West Yorkshire in 6th place (3,097) and North Yorkshire in 7th (2,229). Whilst Northern regions were prominent in the top ten, many Southern areas also made the list, with Essex coming 4th (4,196), Hertfordshire being 5th (3,675) and Northamptonshire coming 9th (1,013).

Regional

Commercial thefts in 2020

Commercial thefts in 2021

Commercial thefts in 2022

Overall total

Cambridgeshire

3883

3573

1977

9433

South Yorkshire

2458

2279

1386

6123

Lancashire

2424

2092

1302

5818

Essex

2053

1985

158

4196

Hertfordshire

1554

1381

740

3675

West Yorkshire

1414

1097

586

3097

North Yorkshire

1269

557

403

2229

Humberside

609

399

121

1129

Northamptonshire

530

306

177

1013

Bedfordshire

331

354

173

858

Total

16525

14023

7023

27571

Despite the above locations being included in the top ten, nearly all these regions have seen a decrease in tool thefts since 2020. For example, North Yorkshire dropped by 56.11% between 2020 and 2021. Despite this slight decline, there has already been a significant number of tool thefts in 2022 so far.

Looking further into the data, we can see that in Cambridgeshire, the number of ‘thefts from a motor vehicle’ (6,581) was over twice as common as a ‘burglary from a business’ (2,837). This is a common occurrence in tool thefts. Whilst business owners will often invest in security for premises and buildings, vehicles are often forgotten and become a perfect target for thieves.

You can’t guarantee the protection of your vehicle from tool thefts, however, making small changes like storing tools inside or in secure storage overnight, parking vehicles closer to your home or building and investing in a sticker which states no tools are left in the vehicle overnight can all deter thieves.

Although the overall number of thefts positioned Cambridgeshire at the top, the total value of property stolen in the area equalled £4,816,806, whilst South Yorkshire was valued much higher with £9,289,954 of stolen goods between January 2020 and July 2021.

Focusing on South Yorkshire, the most common tools stolen were:

  1. Drill - 1246
  2. Power Saw - 408
  3. Tool Box - 395
  4. Saw - 389
  5. Electricians Tools - 359
  6. Grinder - 316
  7. Screwdriver - 265
  8. Chain Saw - 233
  9. Hedge Trimmer - 230
  10. Jigsaw - 227

From the list, we can see smaller handheld tools such as drills and saws were much more at risk than larger, expensive items like fort lift trucks or platform lifts. These items are more convenient for thieves as they are smaller and likely have no serial numbers that owners or police could identify them with.

If you have unused machinery or equipment collecting dust, these items can be sold through auctions to make additional funds rather than risk them being stolen. Common machinery and tools can secure you major returns; they could be worth more than you might think!

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