Top tips to help installers prevent tool theft

With reports of tool theft on the rise, WaterSafe, the national register of approved plumbers, is sharing advice to help tradespeople deter thieves.

WaterSafe recommends following the guidance set out by Secured by Design, the official police security initiative, to help installers keep tools safe and help police return stolen items.

Kevin Wellman, Director of WaterSafe, says: "Having tools stolen can be distressing and costly.  What’s more, thieves will often target the same victims again weeks or months later when the stolen tools have been replaced.

“Sadly, it can be easy for criminals to sell stolen tools online or at boot fairs, so it’s essential all tradespeople follow the steps below to deter would-be criminals, make the tools harder to sell and help the police return them to you if found.

“I recommend following the five steps below from Secured By Design to keep your van and tools safe.”

Secured by Design’s top tips:

  1. Think before you park – park in well-light areas, ideally with CCTV cameras or visible from where you’re working. Parking with the rear or side doors against a wall or railing will help make sure they can’t be prised open

  2. Fit a secure van safe in the rear for expensive power tools – and avoid leaving tools in your van overnight

  3. Mark your tools with your postcode or partial address using a Secured By Design-recognised forensic marking kit – and register tools which have a serial number on the police-backed Immobilise database.

  4. Install a battery-operated alarm, which can send SMS alerts if it detects a potential break-in – and use stickers on your van to warn would-be thieves about the alarm

  5. Use a GPS tracker for large or expensive tools – and your van. In April, Kent Police discovered £1 million worth of stolen tools after tracking down one drill fitted with a tracking device.

Doug Skins, Secured by Design, said: “The theft of tools continues to be a high-volume crime, attractive to professional gangs and opportunist thieves alike.

“The impact of thefts like these is not just limited to the cost of replacing the stolen items, as very often the victim cannot work until the tools are replaced, thus suffering even more financial loss and causing considerable disruption to business operations and delays and inconvenience to customers.

“Secured by Design (SBD) has many member companies that specialise in vehicle security to protect both vans and tools. These products range from wheel-clamps and steering wheel locks and internally anchored security boxes through to security marking and forensic coding systems, key fobs and signalling blockers, tool safe vaults, and tracking systems.

“By layering security with SBD-approved products you can reduce the chances of falling victim to tool theft”.

About WaterSafe

WaterSafe is the national register of approved plumbers and contractors, which provides reassurance to consumers that they are choosing a tradesperson who is competent and qualified in plumbing and the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations which keep tap water safe.

Membership is usually free to plumbers from existing approved contractor schemes: the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC), Anglian Water’s APlus, the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), Severn Trent’s WaterMark, the Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation (SNIPEF) and the Water Industry Approved Plumbing Scheme (WIAPS).

Find out more about becoming a WaterSafe-approved contractor in our Installer Area.

Our Partners

WaterSafe Approved Contractors' Scheme Operators

Anglian WaterAssociation of Plumbing & Heating ContractorsCIPHESevern TrentSNIPEFWIAPS

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience with WaterSafe. Some are essential to provide accurate emergency search results and ensure the website is secure. We also use cookies to help us understand how people use the site and to make improvements. Click "Accept All" to enable recommended settings or click "Manage cookies" to adjust your settings. For more details, see our Cookie Policy.