This accounts for at least 110 tools were stolen a day, according to figures from 25 of the 45 territorial police forces in the UK.
On The Tools has previously reported that four in five tradespeople have experienced tool theft. This predominantly affecting self-employed tradespeople having key items stolen from their vans, garages, and even homes.
The staggering scale of the crime particularly affects London, with nearly half all cases recorded in the Capital.
Elsewhere, Essex, West Yorkshire, the West Midlands, and Gwent also reported extremely high cases last year.
With estimates from On The Tools estimating that tool theft costs the average tradesperson £4,470.50 in equipment, LBC’s analysis shows that tradespeople are potentially losing over £100 million in tools during a cost of living crisis.
The research also found that there is a very low charge rate for the crime. In Derbyshire, Northumbria and West Yorkshire an estimated 2% of recorded cases result in a charge. In Merseyside and Northamptonshire it is less than 7%.
Andy Trotter, the former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, labelled LBC’s figures as “devastating for tradespeople”.
He added: “The impact is enormous, particularly when people are going through a very tough time economically. It is a huge problem for the police to deal with”.
Responding to the low charge rate, Andy said: “it’s a symptom of remarkably low detection rates across the board… the police have been denuded resources”
Ian, a security equipment installation engineer from East London, has had his van broken into on three occasions. He told LBC tool theft has had a “heart-breaking” effect. He said: “It’s not just monetary… you can’t work for a week because you haven’t got the right tools".
As a result of the crime, Ian has installed a ‘tool-safe’ in his van, buy extra security locks, and has fitted stainless steel panels to prevent further break-ins.
In response, a spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs Council told LBC: "Tool theft often affects the victim’s ability to work and we recognise how invasive and traumatic it is to have your items stolen, or have a van broken into.
“There are complexities in tool theft cases as there are limited forensic opportunities. We will continue to work hard to prevent tool theft and encourage victims to report these instances to police."
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