Theft of tools on the rise

Theft of tools from vans has increased dramatically over recent years. Methods of theft range from the traditional smash-and-grab and use of skeleton keys to key signal hacking or the ‘relay method’.

The latest ‘trend’ is the so-called “peek and seek” or “peel and steal”. This involves perpetrators using their bodyweight to peel back the side or rear doors of a van, bending them outwards to enable them to look and reach inside. This method means that the thieves don’t need any tools for this type of robbery and are difficult for the police to identify during routine stop-and-searches - plus, of course, this method causes significant damage to the van.

It’s a nationwide problem. The worst hit areas are:

Tunbridge Wells

The wider cost implications

Tools are inherently valuable (especially brand name tools), but having your tools stolen from your work’s van costs you more than the value of the tools themselves. There’s the cost of your insurance excess and the subsequent hike in your van’s motor insurance if you decide to make a claim, but more immediately there’s the cost of your lost business. If you don’t have tools, you can’t work and for an industry largely dominated by self-employment, that means lost income for however long it takes to gather the funds to replace your lost items.

How to prevent theft from your van

There are a number of steps you can take to protect your tools and van.

1.) Secure parking location

Parking in well-lit areas covered by CCTV may deter opportunist thieves, but planned or organised thefts will still take place if the thieves are determined to take your tools.

2.) Van security

Tinted windows, an alarm and an immobiliser can deter thieves. Many van owners display stickers to show that ‘no tools are left in this van overnight’ though some thieves will not hesitate to smash a window or peel back a door just to check. Damage to your work van can prove just as costly as theft of your tools, so consider storing your van inside your garage if possible, or at one of our secure parking facilities mentioned above.

3.) Proof of loss

If the worst happens and your tools are stolen, it will make an insurance claim much easier if you have proof of what has been taken. A photo of the inside of a fully-laden van might be sufficient if you don’t have proof of purchase of the individual tools - a photo of each tool is even better. Date stamp the photos if you can, and take fresh pictures every six months or so (or more frequently if you make a significant purchase).

Keep a note of serial numbers and mark your tools to make them identifiable as yours if they are ever recovered.

4.) Insurance

You can take out separate tool insurance, which can be easier to claim against (and have a lower excess) than claiming against your motor insurance. If you decide not to take out this insurance, double check your motor insurance to make sure that the value of your van’s contents would be covered in the case of theft.

Alternative, secure tool storage

Lots of our customers use our secure storage units for their tools. Some call in at the end of each working day to drop off their tools, whilst others use us to store tools they don’t use every day, or just to cover the days they’re not working. With over 125 stores nationwide there’s bound to be a store local to your home or place of work.

Why store your tools with Safestore?

Our units are highly secure - they're covered by 24 hour recorded CCTV and monitored intruder alarms.

Our contracts are very flexible - you can stay for as little or as long as you want. You can choose to rent any size of unit from a locker to a warehouse depending on what you need to store. Our video guides can help you to decide how much space you need, or our helpful staff can assist.

Other benefits of storing with us

Many of our stores can provide trolleys and forklifts to make loading or unloading your tools quick and easy, and many have drive up room access too.

One of our main benefits is that at many sites our staff can accept deliveries on your behalf, meaning that you won’t need to wait around for materials or stock to be delivered to your home or work and you can get on with running your business. We’ll keep them safe until you can call in to move them to your own unit.

Don’t risk it - store it!

To reserve your secure unit at a small weekly cost, call us or click for a quote today - no deposit is needed to secure your unit, and many of our sites offer a 20% discount* for long-term stays for extra savings.

Let us help you to keep your tools safe and your business up and running.

Most popular unit sizes for trades

Find out how Neil uses Safestore self storage to run his business hiring out IT equipment

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So if you're looking for somewhere to store equipment that you use infrequently but cannot work without, then Safestore has the solution for you.

First find a store and use our quick quote tool or talk to the team today for your quote.

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We put customer service at the heart of all that we do, and we’re thrilled to have been recognised for this commitment by Feefo, an independent customer rating service.
In 2024, we were awarded the prestigious Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award for the fifth year in a row, as well as the first ever exclusive accolade in customer service – the Feefo 10 Year of Excellence Award!

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