£83 million worth of tools stolen from tradespeople in the last three years

More than £83 million worth of tools have been stolen across England and Wales in the last three years, according to new research from Direct Line for Business, equating to £83,500 of equipment going missing every day. Furthermore, just 3% of these tools are ever reunited with owners.

Since 2017, an estimated 217,000 tools have been stolen, with 33% of these reported in London, 21% in Yorkshire and Humberside and 12% in the north west.

Table one: Number and percentage of tool thefts per region from 2017-2019

Region Estimated number of incidents of tool theft, 2017-2019
Number Percentage
London 71,995 33%
Yorkshire and Humber 46,329 21%
North West 27,072 12%
East of England 19,313 9%
South West 17,376 8%
North East 14,876 7%
East Midlands 11,870 5%
West Midlands 5,837 3%
Wales 2,325 1%
South East No data No data
England and Wales total 216,992 100%

Source: Direct Line for Business 2019

It is also expected that these figures could be higher as no police forces from the south east – which accounts for a sixth of the population – responded to the Freedom of Information (FOI) request, meaning the actual figure could exceed 260,000.

More than 28% of tools are stolen from vehicles, while 20% are taken from private residences and just 10% go missing from worksites or places of business. The average value of a reported stolen tool is £385, meaning the overall figure to the industry could be substantial.

Nandita Borkakoti, product manager for tradesperson at Direct Line for Business, said: Our analysis shows that tool theft is proving to be a real issue for tradespeople across the UK. It is not only the inconvenience of having to get new tools, but tradespeople could also be missing out on work if they do not have the correct equipment to complete a job.”