More than £83 million worth of tools have been stolen across England and Wales in the last three years, according to research from Direct Line for Business. This equates to £83,500 of equipment going missing every day.

Submitting freedom of information requests to all police forces in England and Wales, Direct Line discovered that, despite reporting these incidents to police forces, just 3% of tools are ever reunited with owners, meaning tradespeople across the country have lost more than £80 million worth of tools for good.

Since 2017, an estimated 217,000 tools have been stolen, with a third (33%) of these reported in London. Yorkshire and Humberside (21%) and the North West (12%) also account for a substantial proportion of stolen tools.

It is also expected that these figures could be higher, said Direct Line, as no police forces from the South East, which accounts for a sixth of the population, responded to the FOI request. Based on overall UK figures, this means that the actual figure could exceed 260,000 tools going missing.

When it comes to where the tools are taken from, more than a quarter (28%) are stolen from vehicles, while 20% are taken from private residences, and just 10% go missing from work sites or places of business. The average value of a reported stolen tool is £385.

In response to this issue, Direct Line for Business has launched ‘Overnight Tools cover’, which carries an additional premium to insure customers’ tools in a locked vehicle overnight.  

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.

“We have recently enhanced our tradespeople policy to offer overnight tool theft cover from a vehicle as an added extra. We hope this will allow peace of mind and prevent too much disruption to the working day for our customers should the worst happen.”