Stay a step ahead of the criminals - how to prevent van and tool theft

Stay a step ahead of the criminals - how to prevent van and tool theft

11 November 2020 | Kate Kozlowska | 10 min read

Van and tools theft is spiking in the UK

Tool theft is growing in the UK, indicating that 98% of businesses are highly concerned about stolen tools and vans. Van thefts have tripled in recent years, and as an estimate, breaking into a van happens every 23 minutes. We've heard plenty of stories from our customers of thieves stealing tools from the back of their van. You can only imagine the effect it has had on them, especially for sole traders and small businesses relying on a van for their job. Stolen tools or damaged vans, in most cases, mean days or even weeks of missed work.


Don't become a victim

Your insurance will cover your costs if you're a victim of vehicle or equipment theft. But why would you have to deal with all this hassle to replace the van or tools when you can prevent them from being stolen in the first place? Vehicle security should be the top priority, especially when it comes to commercial vehicles because they are the lifeblood of the business. Thieves always look for the simplest way to get to your van and tools, so don't make stealing from you easy for them. There is a significant chance that having realised that your van is too challenging to break into, they might move on.


Our 10 top tips for keeping your van and tools safe

1. Prioritise security when choosing your van leasing deal

When you are looking for a van to lease, there is a lot to consider. While there are many options that you need to look into, not many put vehicle security on their priority list. Most modern vans on our van leasing offers come with a good range of security features but make sure that the truck you're looking to lease has the suitable kit. Not every van comes with every security feature, and sometimes you'll need to add the ones you want in your vehicle as an extra or go for a higher trim. The standard security we advise that you request for your van is an alarm and immobiliser. Additionally, deadlocks and separate locking systems for the cabin and cargo area are also highly recommended.

Think about the configuration of your new van. While the glazed rear door is helpful for visibility, they allow everybody to see what's inside the van. They hence can be a risk for your vehicle's security. Most of our van leasing deals come with a double rear door as standard so consider if you need to access the load area from both sides before adding the extra side door. Many commercial panel vans also have a solid bulkhead separating the cab from the load, which keeps everything out of sight. However, double-check what vans are available and if it comes with this feature. Some lower-trim models and crew vans have steel mesh bulkheads or even rigid plastic in some cases.


2. Modify the van deal to your needs

Did you know you can add a few things to your business van lease to boost your vehicle's security? There are several physical security extras for commercial vehicles to suit different business needs. Lockable toolboxes for expensive equipment, upgraded deadlocks or slam locks for doors will make it harder for thieves to steal your tools. Furthermore, steering locks or pedal box protectors will help make your van more challenging to drive away.


3. Invest in the latest security technology

If you're looking to lease a new van, most will come with an alarm and immobiliser as standard. We strongly advise that you check that these systems are at least Thatcham Category 2 approved, which means that they have a fitted immobiliser. Category 1 systems offer even better security with an immobiliser and an alarm and additional sensors detecting glass breaking or any unusual vehicle movement. If you want even more protection, you can add a vehicle tracking device to your van deal. Electronic GPS trackers can give you a better chance of finding your stolen vehicle. They can even alert the police when your van gets stolen, as well as lower your insurance premiums. However, they can be pricey to install, and you'd need to pay a monthly subscription, but the peace of mind may be worth it.


4. Look into physical security devices

There are plenty of affordable solutions that will help you keep your van safe. These are covered by Thatcham's category 3 and include immobilisation devices that are mechanical, not electric. There are heavy-duty wheel locks, hand brake locks, lockable fuel caps, and you can also apply a plastic window tint that will keep the smashed window in place rather than break up. You can also go for Thatcham's Category 4 devices, like locking wheel nuts. All these are generally easy to install and remove but should give a hard time for thieves.

Another cheap option is adding stickers saying that there aren't any tools left in the van overnight.


5. Lock your van

Locking your van may be obvious, but all these security measurements will only make sense if you use them. Lock your van even if you're going to pay for fuel. Thieves won't ask twice if they see an opportunity. Check that all your windows are closed, and doors are locked every time you leave your van. If you're leaving it for longer, then use all those extra vehicle securities that you've invested.


6. Don't leave items on display

Even leaving a bag with nothing inside it on the top of the dashboard could tempt a thief, and though they'll get away with nothing, you still might be left with a broken window or damaged door. Not worth the risk.

7. don't leave your tools in the van overnight

Nighttime is when the criminals hunt for opportunities, so take your tools home with you if possible. It is a hassle and might not prevent thieves from breaking into your van, but at least they won't take your valuable tools. Consider getting a lockable, portable chest or wheeled job box to make this task easier.

If you can't take your tools with you, it's worth keeping an inventory of what you carry if the worst happens. It's also worth marking valuable equipment using a watermark system that registers the items on a central database, which will help return them to you if thieves steal them. Always keep receipts when purchasing new tools, just in case you need to make an insurance claim.


8. Don't hang your van keys by the front door

The easiest way to steal your van is to have the keys - obvious. Did you know that thieves use coat hangers for fishing the keys through a letterbox? Never leave the keys on display or within easy reach.


9. It matters where you park

The best places to park your vehicle is in busy, well-lit areas. Thieves don't like to be disturbed, so they choose to operate in dark, quiet spots. Clearly, dark, quiet spots are where you don't want to park your van. It would be even better if CCTV is covering the parking spot.

Suppose you park your van at home or work. Then, you can also add motion-detecting security lights, lockable gates or rising bollards. Additionally, you can add cameras to connect to your wi-fi and stream images directly into your PC or mobile device. You can set the cameras to start recording when they detect a movement.


10. Make your staff aware of van security

If you're a fleet manager, ensure that all your staff stick to the same routine regarding van security. Even the most expensive security features won't help if not used correctly. If other people are using your van, make sure that they know about all these security devices and how to use them.


Am I Eligible?

We work in partnership with many of the UK’s leading van leasing, car leasing, contract hire and finance leasing funding companies in order to provide the most competitive rates and offer you the best leasing deals possible. Our guide to eligibility will help you understand the various requirements for establishing a vehicle finance agreement.

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Achieving the best van leasing deals and the best car leasing deals has become a key consideration in the work we do, so you can get the best leasing deals. Our process is built to ensure we accurately and efficiently identify your needs and requirements, achieve the best finance deal for you, apply for finance on your behalf and provide you with the quickest delivery possible.

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At Commercial Vehicle Contracts, we ensure that every aspect of the car leasing process and van leasing process is seamlessly undertaken with full management on your behalf, meaning you can sit back and relax with the peace of mind that your chosen vehicle will arrive at your desired address matching your required needs.

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