Tradesperson’s turmoil: Tools stolen every 17 minutes

  • There have been 31,161 tool thefts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since March 2021, which equates to a tool stolen every 17 minutes
  • Since March 2021, more than £80 million of equipment has been stolen from tradespeople in total
  • Northumbria had the highest number of tool theft incidents per resident, followed by London, the South West and Yorkshire and the Humber

A tool has been stolen from a tradesperson every 17 minutes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since March 2021, according to new analysis of police force data from Direct Line business insurance.1 In total, 31,161 tools were stolen, the majority of which (17,370) were taken by thieves breaking into vehicles.

This marks an increase since before the Covid-19 pandemic. In the 2019 calendar year 28,681 cases of tool theft were reported, the equivalent of one stolen every 20 minutes.2

This growing problem is unsurprisingly hitting tradespeople hard financially. With the average value of a stolen tool costing £3852, there has been £80 million worth of equipment taken over the last year, compounding the issues for tradespeople trying to bounce back from the pandemic.

While thefts from London represented 62 per cent of all incidents (19,351), Northumbria came out on top when population density was considered:

Regions with the highest levels of tool theft per resident – Direct Line business insurance, 2022:








South West


Yorkshire and the Humber


East Midlands


North East


North West


East of England


South East


Northern Ireland

Alison Traboulsi, Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance commented:

“At a time when people are facing serious cost of living challenges, heartless criminals are taking away the livelihoods of hardworking tradespeople. It is not just the value of the tools stolen, theft can cause big delays on site, causing huge additional costs and causing serious scheduling headaches.  We urge those considering purchasing second-hand tools to question the provenance to limit opportunities for criminals to dispose of stolen goods.”

“At Direct Line, we are committed to helping tradespeople deal with the consequences of tool theft so that they can get back to work quickly. Our Tools and Business Equipment cover, which is available with Public Liability insurance, comes with Tools Essentials.  This service helps tradespeople get back to work quickly by helping them to replace their essential tools within 24 hours of a valid tools claim, by providing an upfront faster payment of up to £1,500, subject to a few checks. Claims can be reported between 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays, policy limits and exclusions apply.

“We also offer a range of van insurance covers which can help tradespeople deal with damage to or theft of their vehicle.”

For more information about Direct Line’s van and tradesperson insurance, please visit our website:   


(1) Direct Line analysis of police force data on tool theft from March 2021-April 2022
(2) Direct Line analysis of police force data from 2019
(3) Direct Line data, 2020:

Direct Line Group

Unni Henry

Marketing Practitioner

Email: [email protected]

About Direct Line business insurance

Launched in 2007 Direct Line business insurance now has over half a million customer policies, providing a flexible range of insurance products for the landlord, van and small business sectors.

Direct Line business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line business insurance and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line business insurance products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting