Research by the FMB has revealed that one in two builders have had their tools stolen, which shows just how widespread this problem is. Tools are being stolen from vans, from building sites, and builders have even been physically assaulted to be relieved of their equipment. In nearly all cases, it is because expensive tools are highly prized by organised criminal gangs who are deliberately targeting the industry.
The FMB is raising awareness among Master Builders of the true extent of the problem, and what good actions you can adopt to help prevent the theft of tools. Around one in five members install extra locks in vans, park against walls and bring their tools in at night. These are simple steps to take in order to deter thieves.
However, even when taking these precautions, theft can still be a possibility. It is therefore important to put measures in place that give you the best chance of recovering your tools, or claiming on your insurance, in the event that your equipment is stolen. Around one in ten members install CCTV cameras, overtly brand their items with company details and register tool serial numbers on an online database. Overtly branding tools with company details will help police to identify them, and may even prevent tools from being stolen in the first place. Installing CCTV cameras and registering serial numbers on websites like immobilise.com can provide proof to the police and insurer that possessions have been stolen. Master Builders should check in what circumstances their insurance policies cover tools.
Builders and other members of the public can report goods they believe to be stolen by calling the non-emergency police number on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Talking to clients about the impact of tool theft on the work and livelihoods of builders, and the importance of not buying stolen goods, could help to ensure that everyone is working towards tackling the scourge of tool theft.
The FMB has produced a video in collaboration with the Lincolnshire Police Service on what steps they recommend builders take to keep tools safe; watch it here: