Regional breakdown of attempted trade van break ins revealed

Credit: AdobeStock / von Lieres
Credit: AdobeStock / von Lieres

Nearly a quarter (22%) of tradespeople report having tools stolen from their van in the last 12 months, with more than a third (35%) aware of attempts to break into their van over the same period.

The research from Direct Line also found that not only is the total cost of tools in the average work van more than £4,300, but a van break in can also cause extensive damage to the doors and locking system, requiring on average £750 worth of repairs to the vehicle.

Regional breakdown of attempted van break ins to tradespeople’s vans: 

Region Percentage of tradespeople reporting attempted van break ins 
London 50%
Northern Ireland 50%
North East 41%
West Midlands 38%
South West 34%
East of England 34%
South East 33%
North West 31%
The Humber 31%
Scotland 29%
East Midlands 28%


The majority (87%) of tradespeople say that they believe the penalties for tool thieves are not strong enough, which is supported by 91% of the public agreeing that consequences should be more significant.

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from Direct Line Business Insurance said: “Theft from vans is a major problem for tradespeople with 35 per cent reporting an attempted break in over the last 12 months. From our interviews with reformed thieves, this crime is seen as low risk with a high reward. Tradespeople carry high value items in their vans and the punishment if thieves get caught is less severe compared to, for example, theft from an office.  

“When speaking with our customers, we know a van is a tradesperson’s place of work. It’s where they take their calls, it’s where they eat their lunch, it’s where they do their paperwork. We’re working hard to raise awareness of this issue, not just on behalf of our customers, but for every tradesperson across the UK that has and could fall victim to theft.”  

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