Tool thefts rise as nights draw in

  • Tool thefts peak in November, after the clocks change
  • Tool theft is 34 per cent higher in November than April (the month immediately after the change to British Summer Time)
  • Tool theft from vehicles increases by 20 per cent during the darker winter months

November is the peak month for tool thefts according to a new analysis1 of police force data by Direct Line business insurance.  In both 2021 and 2022, tool theft peaked in November, as darker nights drew in and the clocks changed.

As the days grow shorter, tradespeople are encouraged to review their tool security, as the analysis shows a 34 per cent increase in tool theft during November 2022, after the clocks changed, compared to April 2022, after the clocks moved forward and days got lighter. The rise in thefts is even higher when looking specifically at tools stolen from vehicles, which were 44 per cent higher in November 2022 than in April of the same year.

The data also showed a general increase in tool theft over the darker months (October – March). Tool theft from vehicles was 20 per cent higher over the autumn and winter of 2021/2022, compared to the to spring and summer of 2022.

Direct Line business insurance’s research shows that the average value of tradespeople’s tools taken from their vehicles was £3,4252. This would suggest that over the autumn-winter of 2021/2022, £37m worth of tools were stolen from vehicles, a £6m increase from spring-summer 2022.

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

“In the winter months, the long nights provide cover of darkness for thieves, making it easier for them to break into vehicles, garages, lockups or building sites unnoticed. Tool theft is hugely disruptive and stressful for tradespeople, alongside having to replace tools, many may not be able to work while they do so, which directly affects their livelihoods. With police force data showing that thieves exploit the darker days to steal tools, now is a good time to reflect on where and how tradespeople store their tools and make any necessary changes; from installing additional locks and alarms to being aware of where to park – in garages, driveways and in well-lit areas, where possible.

“We offer tradespeople a range of products and services to help cover them in the event of loss or theft. Our comprehensive van cover comes with £500 tools and equipment cover as standard and we offer tradespeople a range of flexible insurance cover options allowing them to build a policy covering their specific insurance needs, whether that’s cover for during the day at work or tools locked in a van overnight.”

Our Tools and Business Equipment cover, which is available with Public Liability insurance, comes with Tools Essentials, a service which helps tradespeople get back to work quickly 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.

For more information about Direct Line’s tradesperson tools cover, please visit our website:

For tips on how to keep your van and tools safe please visit:




Notes to Editors

1 Data collected from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the England, Wales and Northern Ireland Police forces, for tool thefts from January 2021 until December 2021, and also January 2022 until December 2022.2

2 Opinium survey of 2000 UK adults, including 188 tradespeople, conducted 21st March – 24th March 2023.

For further information please contact:

Direct Line Group 

Unni Henry 

PR Manager

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