Tool theft is on the rise again!
Tool theft is a real problem for tradespeople, and once again it is featuring heavily in the news. For those unfortunate to have been affected by this will know that being without them is not only extremely stressful but also very expensive, usually costing the victim hundreds, if not thousands in lost tools, stock and also van repairs. Also, the police have warned that thieves will often return to the scene of the crime after a few months in the knowledge that your tools will have been replaced with brand new ones!
Whilst insurance cover does help there is still the time and inconvenience of having to replace items that have taken years to build up. On top of that there is the loss of revenue because you won’t have the tools to be able to complete your work.
Protecting your tools
One of the biggest issues for electricians is the security of their tools, and keeping light fingered thieves away from them can be challenging.
We would always recommend removing tools from vans overnight, however this is not really practical for most tradesmen especially if you have nowhere else to store them. So what should you do?
Take a stand against tool theft
Tools are essential to any tradesman, so it’s really important that you make sure you hold on to them!
The harder you make it for your tools to be got at, the less likely thieves are to make off with them. There are a few simple steps you can take to protect your tools and also to help recover them should they be stolen:
Photograph your tools to be able to identify them if they are found by the police
Personalise your tools by etching your name on them or use a bright coloured paint to make them easily identifiable
Keep a note of serial numbers and other data
Use stickers and signs to advertise that your tools are marked as this sends out a powerful warning to any would-be-thieves
Make sure you are insured, check with your Public Liability insurance to see if your tools are covered
Don’t forget to make sure you securely lock your van every time you leave it, even if it’s just for a few minutes
Don’t leave your tools in the van overnight
Park your van with the doors against a wall
Identify your tools
Thieves can be deterred by marking your tools and it also helps recover your items in the event of theft. If they are stolen, the thief will have a much harder time selling them on if they have some form of identification marks on them.
We have researched some of the best methods to protect your tools, which we hope you will find useful and have listed them below:
Each SelectaDNA property marker and spray contains a unique DNA code. These codes allow police to identify property and link criminals to the crime. The kit contains a bottle of microdots, 50 laminated warning labels, 6 laminated rectangular warning labels, 1 ‘DNA marking in use’ warning sticker, 4 window stickers, 1 exterior warning sticker, 1 UV keyring light and lifetime registration on the Secure Asset Register. Retail price is £59.90.
Alpha Dots is an anti-theft system which consists of tiny microdots – just 1mm in diameter – printed with a unique PIN (Personal Identification Number) registered to you. The dots come in a glue filled applicator and are simply painted onto your valuables with a small brush. Once applied, the glue is virtually impossible to remove. Your marked items are then registered free on the TRACELINE national database, making it easy to identify the owner of any recovered stolen property. This pack usually retails at £24.99.
3. Smart Water
Smart Water offer a kit for tradesmen containing a pot of forensic fluid, 54 tamper proof stickers and van stickers for windows and bumpers. It’s a great way to identify your tools. The way this works is that it all glows green under a UV light. The retail price for this kit is £99 per year.
Secure your van
Relying on the standard factory fitted van locks to protect your livelihood might not be enough. By choosing to install extra security to your van could help reduce the chances of thieves targeting your vehicle.
4. Van SlamLock
These are van locks that automatically lock when the van door is shut requiring no key to lock. This can provide maximum security against opportunist theft from an unlocked van, eliminating the possibility of driver error.
If required the van Slamlock can be used along side van deadlocks on the same key and also has anti pick features for added security.
5. Arma Plate
Arma Plates are great to use to repair damage caused by thieves and can also be fitted to help prevent future thefts. The Arma Plate system comprises of two plates, a stainless steel plate that protects the vulnerable area around the lock or handle and this is bolted to an internal plate with locking nuts and is suitable for most vans.
If your van has been vandalised and the handles have either been broken or removed then the SlamPlate van lock could be a good option to secure your van from further unauthorised access.
The lock is constructed from steel plate coated in a black powder coat, or stainless steel, said to give a superior level of van lock security. The SlamPlate van security lock has been designed to be door specific and is available for a number of vans.
Prevention is better than cure!
It’s fair to say that most thieves are opportunists, looking for an easy way to steal. However, they can be deterred, so make it harder for them and help protect yourself from being their next victim.
Many insurance companies offer discounts for customers who mark their property, particularly for vehicle and motorcycle insurance, so it’s worth checking with your insurer.
Name: James Lovett
Courses Studied: C&G2365 Level 2/3, Bronze Package
We caught up with one of our students James Lovett following his training with us to ask how he got on and to find out what his plans are for the future.
Why did you decide to train with us?
After leaving the army I decided to train with Trade Skills 4U as I was able use my ELCAS credits to put towards my resettlement training, also I had heard good things about Trade Skills 4U.
Why did you decide to take the C&G 2365 course and how will this help you?
I decided to take the 2365 course to get a step closer to becoming a fully qualified electrician. I needed to do this in a quicker time period due to having a mortgage etc. I currently work full-time at Gatwick Airport as a Maintenance Electrician and I hope that his course will open more doors for my career.
Tell us about why you chose to become an electrician?
My brother is an electrician and I had a taste of what it was like, so I decided to take my first steps and booked the Bronze Domestic Installer course with Trade Skills 4U. This gave me a good foot in the door to the electrical industry where I worked for a year and a half as a domestic electrician. I then managed to get a job with TA Boxall & Co Ltd as a Maintenance Electrician.
How long have you been working in the electrical industry?
I have been in the industry now for just over 3 years.
What difference has training made to you?
The training has made a massive difference. Now I can go on to complete my NVQ and AM2 Assessment and become a fully qualified confident electrician with the company I work for.
How would you describe the facilities and training at Trade Skills 4U?
The facilities are very good at Trade Skills 4U, with rest areas, free tea and coffee etc. and great support from the tutors.
Please tell us about your training with Trade Skills 4U. What were your best bits, difficult bits, interesting bits?
My best bits were definitely the workshop weeks, putting what you learn on paper into practice and testing it to prove it all works. The difficult bits for me were the maths but with great tutors who explain things really well everything fell into place. The whole course is interesting as you are learning constantly and as you get through each week more and more bits all fall into place.
We would like to thank James for sharing his training experience with us and wish him the very best of luck for the future.