More than £100 million of tools have been stolen in the UK since 2020


More than £100 million of tools have been stolen across the UK over the last two years, with almost 60,000 crimes committed, new research has revealed.

The study, conducted by IronmongeryDirect, the UK’s largest supplier of specialist ironmongery, issued Freedom of Information requests to police forces to discover how many tools were stolen in 2020 and 2021, and the value of these items.

In total, 58,833 tools were reported stolen, averaging over 2,000 per region.


London hotspot for tool theft

The biggest hotspot for the crime is London, where over a third (37%) of incidents occur. Between 2020 and 2021, the Metropolitan Police Service dealt with 21,630 cases of tool theft.

West Yorkshire takes second place, with 6,684 offences over the two years, but tops the chart for value of goods stolen. In 2020 and 2021, the combined value of stolen tools in the region was a staggering £50,242,427.

This is more than half of the UK’s total value, which stands at £100,329,740.

This figure could be even higher in reality, however, as in many incidents of tool theft, the value of items taken is not recorded.


Yorkshire loses most to tool theft, according to Police figures

The five police forces reporting the highest value of stolen tools are:



Public Authority

Value of Stolen Tools (2020 and 2021)


West Yorkshire Police



Metropolitan Police Service



Kent Police



Derbyshire Constabulary



Northumbria Police



Keeping your tools safe

To help tradespeople protect themselves from tool theft, IronmongeryDirect has partnered with Stefano Lobban, Director at Herts Tools, to offer security advice.

Here are Stefano’s top three tips:


1) Be careful where you store them

“If possible, don’t store tools in your van overnight. If you have to leave tools in your van for any length of time, park with rear or sliding doors against a wall or fence. Parking in a busy area covered by CCTV will also deter thieves.”


2) Invest in security

“Get an alarm, a lockable interior cabinet or interior deadbolts for your van. These measures make it harder – and noisier – for thieves to get at your tools. Make thieves aware of the safety measures you’ve taken by placing stickers on your van to deter them”


3) Make your tools less appealing

“Make your tools less attractive to thieves by removing brand name plates and marking them with neon spray paint. This will also make them easier to identify if they do get stolen.”


Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect, said:

“Unfortunately, tool theft is a problem that thousands of tradespeople have to deal with every year, and it can have a huge impact on both the individuals and their businesses.

“Workers will potentially have to pause their jobs until they are able to recover or replace the tools stolen, and that can be a lengthy and expensive process.

“That’s why we’ve partnered with experts to share advice on how to hopefully protect yourself and your tools, and make it harder for thieves.”


For more expert security advice, and to see where van theft is most common across the UK, read IronmongeryDirect’s Trade Theft Report 2022 here:

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