Yes, I know this may seem obvious, but it’s helpful and worth knowing what you need to do to prevent your tools from being stolen. But also what you need to do if they are stolen.
1. Store your tools sensibly
The harder your tools are to steal; the less likely thieves are to make off with them. It’s best to take your tools in from your van overnight, as techniques like peel and steal can leave even well-secured vans vulnerable.
2. Park Sensibly
If you can’t bring your tools in overnight or you’re leaving your van unattended for a long period during the day, it’s a good idea to park in a way that will prevent thieves from getting to your equipment. Parking with sliding or rear doors against a wall or sturdy fence is a good idea.
Another idea to deter thieves, you could park in a busy area, preferably in view of CCTV cameras. Even if someone does break into your van, you’re more likely to find a witness or get the thief caught on camera.
3. Check your insurance
If you don’t have tools insurance as part of your insurance policy, then first thing to do is get it! It can help pay for the cost of replacing your tools should they be stolen.
Also, you should check your policy wording to find out exactly what’s covered, and if there are any conditions. For example, some insurers will require you to have certain alarms fitted in your van for tools stolen from it to be covered by the policy. So, don’t assume that everything is covered as standard.
4. Mark your property
If your tools are stolen, having identification marks on them will help you be recognised as the owner if they’re found.
You can use paint or permanent marker to add your name or another identifying feature to your tools, or for something harder to remove, etch it in!
5. Keep a note of serial numbers and other data
One of the first things to do is dig out all the information you have about the items that have been taken.
Providing information like serial number, or at least an itemised list of everything taken, will help police identify your tools if they’re found as well as easing the process of making an insurance claim. It is also a good idea to always take photographs of the crime scene, both for the police and your insurer.
6. File a police report
The police can’t do anything until you file a report with them. Dial 101 on your phone or visit a police station in person. Not only will this help with the recovery of your tools, but should you spot them for sale you’ll have that report to back you up.
7. Claim on your insurance
Once the police are aware, the next thing to do is begin your claim! Make sure you have that itemised list while claiming. You’ll need it as part of your supporting documentation.
8. Keep your eyes peeled for dodgy deals
If you see someone selling tools for a silly low price, they are probably stolen. You can keep an eye out for your tools this way, or you might find someone else’s! If you’re part of a local tradesman group you can drop a notification there, to help others find their own stolen tools.