Throughout the United Kingdom road related thefts present an ongoing worry for haulage operators, as a result there has been increased emphasis placed on providing secure parking spots for drivers to park and sleep overnight. Logistics or haulage vehicles on motorways have often found themselves being targeted by thieves due to the assorted cargo they carry, trailers can be full of valuable goods including electronics and household appliances. So, how can drivers reduce the risk of their cargo being targeted by thieves? The most important thing to do is ensure that you are parked in secure protected areas, by law all HGV drivers are required to stop and rest when travelling over a certain amount of time. Parking in a secure designated spot significantly reduces the likelihood of a driver’s cargo being targeted, as well as the fact drivers are not isolated by themselves on the roadside these secure places have other benefits such as full CCTV coverage and regular patrols.
As the safe stopping areas have progressed thieves have started to target vans instead of HGV’s, vans often carry work tools that are worth significant money. Van thefts have raised in recent years and thieves will target them at any location, figures released by the police showed that in 2014/15 there were 14,063 thefts of tools from vehicles while in 2016/17 that figure rose to 22,749. The rise in van related thefts is considered to be partly down to the availability of a new skeleton key, thefts adopting this tactic rather than the usual ‘peel and steal’ method.
Various tradespeople have called the increase of van thefts an epidemic that is destroying their livelihood and ability to work. Often plumbers, builders or electricians vans are broken into overnight with thieves taking anything up to £3000 worth of tools, leaving the victim unable to work and cancelling jobs over the following days. Ian Marsh who runs a company called IJM Plumbing and heating caught an incident at his house on CCTV, he commented on the subject saying “We reviewed the footage and saw that at 1.30am two guys pulled up in a Peugeot 307 and broke into the van,” says Ian. “They spent about 10 minutes selecting what they wanted and then made off. I couldn’t do work on Saturday and the next day I went to replace some of the tools so I could continue working.”
Van drivers now face the difficult task of trying to reduce the likelihood that one of these thieves will target their van, unless they have a secure inaccessible parking spot there will always be a risk even if it is parked on their own driveway. The concern has grown so much that they have decided to reach out to manufacturers urging them to increase the security of vans. On Facebook, Spencer Hargrave and Paul Butterfield, who run their own building firm, started the Van and Tool Theft Awareness Group as part of their campaign to raise awareness about the growing problem.
This is clearly a growing problem that needs be addressed sooner rather than later. The vehicle manufactures and partnering companies need to come up with a cost effective solution to the problem, these thefts can ruin someone’s income as well as creating multiple expenses for repairs and new tools.