London boroughs recorded 17,469 reports of tool theft last year

By submitting a freedom of information request to police constabularies, Toolstation has revealed the hotspots for tool theft across the London boroughs.

  • Enfield experienced the most tool thefts of the London boroughs, with 1,096 thefts, estimating a cost of £978,525.
  • The most stolen tool across the UK was a drill, with a count of 380 drills taken, which is an overall cost of £50,160.
  • 47% of tool thefts happen due to car doors not being locked.
  • 73% of tool thefts happen during weekdays, suggesting owners are not as careful on these days.

Tool thefts in London Boroughs:

According to government data, tool thefts account for one in ten vehicle break-ins in the UK. This was overtaken only by thefts of electrical equipment (13%), exterior fittings (19%) and valuables (39%).

Data from the Metropolitan police reveals Enfield residents to be the most at risk when it comes to tool theft with 1,096 cases reported. This totals a loss of £978,525 for the London borough.

Next on the list is Barnet with 1,033 tool thefts reported. This is closely followed by Newham with 820.

Heathrow, at a contrast reported just 8 tool thefts in the whole year, that’s 137 times less than the number of tool thefts reported in Enfield.

Borough

£0

£0.01-£50

£51-£100

£101-£500

£501-£1,000

£1,001-£5,000

£5,001-£10,000

£10,001 and over

Grand Total

Grand Total

4286

1424

1450

5544

1979

2321

329

136

17469

Enfield

235

100

97

345

119

167

22

11

1096

Barnet

307

62

57

290

130

156

15

16

1033

Newham

176

52

55

276

122

116

17

6

820

Haringey

218

78

65

250

90

95

17

6

819

Ealing

180

84

87

263

85

91

13

7

810

Waltham Forest

219

68

60

236

70

97

18

5

773

Redbridge

183

52

51

200

71

102

11

1

671

Brent

165

55

57

205

66

93

16

5

662

Croydon

177

39

51

222

75

67

10

3

644

Bromley

150

51

62

212

80

74

11

3

643

Hillingdon

127

47

43

206

71

110

17

12

633

Greenwich

161

33

46

217

69

81

16

6

629

Havering

152

59

52

194

71

81

12

3

624

Lewisham

148

68

68

182

75

68

6

3

618

Southwark

144

40

49

185

55

85

11

4

573

Hackney

126

46

40

186

68

88

9

4

567

Tower Hamlets

137

48

38

165

55

77

9

6

535

Camden

172

38

54

139

45

64

4

3

519

Westminster

96

40

45

184

49

68

10

6

498

Harrow

104

33

89

151

49

59

9

2

496

Barking & Dagenham

109

21

20

150

62

49

16

3

430

Wandsworth

93

31

33

125

63

67

7

2

421

Hounslow

87

29

33

145

59

46

13

3

415

Islington

112

31

26

107

51

60

6

2

395

Bexley

74

30

32

140

43

56

8

2

385

Lambeth

92

42

26

107

36

45

6

4

358

Hammersmith & Fulham

93

39

20

64

26

24

4

3

273

Merton

55

26

14

90

40

27

4

1

257

Sutton

65

13

25

86

28

24

2

0

243

Richmond Upon Thames

49

16

18

71

26

37

3

0

220

Kingston Upon Thames

42

27

24

85

10

23

5

2

218

Kensington & Chelsea

38

26

13

61

18

23

2

2

183

Heathrow

0

0

0

5

2

1

0

0

8

Please note that thefts recorded under £0 were recorded without a value.

The 10 most common stolen tools:

Item stolen

Count

Value

Overall cost

Drill

380

£132

£50,160

Saw

196

£7

£1,372

Nail Gun

61

£93

£5,673

Toolbox

47

£24

£1,128

Hedge Trimmer

43

£105

£4,515

Screwdriver

41

£12

£492

Leaf Blower

25

£66

£1,650

Power Washer

22

£117

£2,574

Spanner

19

£10

£190

Hammer

16

£10

£160

How to prevent tool theft

Tools not only hold monetary value, they also represent the livelihood of tradespeople and so it’s important that toolboxes are protected at all costs. The best deterrent for theft is often added security.  So it may be worth investing in extra vehicle security, or even home security such as CCTV to protect your vehicle when parked overnight.

Toolstation spoke to expert Lee Devlin, MD at Homecure Plumbers to get his advice on preventing tool theft in the future:

  • Never leave your tools in your van or vehicle overnight if you can – Tools kept in a van or vehicle is too tempting for criminals. Where possible, store them in a locked premises/site unit when working away from home or take them home with you just to be sure.
  • Invest in a sticker – No, really! You can buy an inexpensive notice that says ‘tools are not left in here’ or ‘No tools are left in this vehicle overnight’ which can help deter thieves from attempting to break into your vehicle.
  • Park your van close to the side of your house/a wall/obstacle – When parking up, ensure your vehicles’ rear doors are facing an obstacle, with a maximum gap of 1ft, preventing thieves from opening doors sufficiently enough to get or see into.
  • Park your van in a locked garage – If you have access to a locked garage, be sure to use it, as this help to keep vehicles out of sight and adds an additional barrier for thieves.
  • Check your vehicle’s alarm regularly – Check the alarms and locking features on your vehicles are working and noises can be heard loudly and attract attention when sounding.
  • Have an immobiliser fitted to your vehicle – Some thieves might try to take the whole vehicle and not just tools. To prevent this, have an immobiliser installed (and check it is working) to prevent thieves from simply ‘hotwiring’ your vehicle.
  • Use a good quality lock/padlock on rear doors – Invest in good quality (and additional) locks for your rear doors to help provide added protection, increasing the effort would-be thieves would need to put in to break into your vehicle and steal tools
  • Stop thieves from looking in and reduce sight lines – Blackout tints, films and even partitions can help reduce the sightlines of thieves and prevent them from casing out your vehicle or knowing what is kept inside.
  • Keep tool bags and boxes close on public transport – When travelling to jobs via public transport with tools, keep them close to you and preferably in front of you, so you can keep an eye on them, and don’t leave them unattended in overhead racks.
  • Ask employers and professional bodies for advice – New security devices and features are regularly being released, with professional bodies often providing both advice and updates on how to find and use new techniques.
  • Take out adequate insurance for both your vehicle and tools – If needed, especially for self-employed tradespeople, make sure your vehicle has the correct insurance and ideally invest in additional tool insurance to ensure you are doubly covered should they get lost or stolen in transit or on-site.”