Last Friday, Tom Randall MP contributed to the debate on the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Bill in the House of Commons. If passed into law, this new Bill can help to deter, prevent and catch those who commit tool theft.
Participating in the debate, Tom said: “Equipment theft has a particularly strong impact. Having one’s tools stolen obviously has a financial cost and causes disruption. I have spoken to constituents who are victims, and their stolen tools are sometimes the ones they bought as an apprentice, so there is a great deal of sentimental value attached to them. They are also literally the tools of the trade, so their work stops until the tools have been replaced.”
Research by the Federation of Master Builders found that, over a 40-year career, a builder typically loses about £10,000-worth of tools and six working days to tool theft. 78% of tradesmen have had their tools stolen, more than 38% have had tools stolen from outside their home and 11% have had to take time off work, or have had to decline new work, while they source new equipment. Nearly a third of tradesmen are not financially compensated at all for tool theft.
At present there is no regulation of the second-hand tool market. Items are sold without proof of origin, which facilitates theft, and it is a large market. Direct Line has found that a third of British consumers have bought second-hand tools at some point, with six in 10 tradesmen having been approached by, or having seen, someone trying to sell second-hand tools that they suspected to be stolen.
Tom went on to say: “Of course, there is already a legal framework in place. Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 states: “A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it” [but] this [Bill] can add further steps to make the retrieval of stolen tools easier and make it less attractive to steal them in the first place. The intention could be to require online marketplaces to require individuals selling second-hand tools to show the unique identifiers of such items in a searchable format. That would close down the ways for people to turn their stolen goods into money and facilitate victims, police and insurance companies’ tracking down stolen items.”
Commenting after the debate, Tom Randall MP said: “Gedling has many plumbers, electricians and builders and that is why I supported the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Bill last Friday. Once legislation, it could help to deter, prevent and catch those who commit tool theft.”