Stop Tool Theft!

Trades United to Rally in London Against Tool Theft Epidemic

Trades United is organising a van rally in Westminster (Parliament Square) to bring attention to the widespread issue of tool theft and the resale of stolen goods. Starting from Brent Cross, tradespeople from across the UK will descend upon Parliament Square to demand stricter enforcement of existing laws and greater accountability for venues that facilitate the resale of stolen tools at car boot sales and markets.

Tradesmen and women will captivate London with a van rally, urging the government to address the inadequate enforcement of laws that jeopardise thousands of livelihoods across the UK.

The event is set for Monday 3rd June 2024, beginning at 11:00 AM, arriving to Parliament Square at 11:45-12:00 where tradespeople and their supporters will mobilise to Westminster to sound the alarm on the escalating tool theft and van break-in crisis.

In Westminster, the trades will gather for a “go slow” convoy demonstration, driving around the area for 2 hours. The goal is to highlight the need for stringent measures to deter the sale of stolen tools.

Trades United call upon the government to impose a £10,000 fine on event organisers of car boot sales and markets that permit the resale of stolen tools. By reducing the opportunities for thieves to offload stolen goods, Trades United and its supporters believe the frequency of vehicle break-ins and thefts will decrease significantly.

The Theft Act 1986, which addresses the handling of stolen goods, is currently underenforced. The Act stipulates:

1. A person handles stolen goods if, knowing or believing them to be stolen, they dishonestly receive, retain, remove, dispose of, or assist in the realisation of the goods for another’s benefit.

2. A person found guilty of handling stolen goods can face up to fourteen years imprisonment upon conviction.

Despite these provisions, enforcement is lacking, with crime reference numbers issued without thorough investigation into the crimes or the locations where stolen goods are resold. For the past 6 years the government has shown no urgency in tackling tool theft as over 44,500 incidents have been reported this is the equivalent of a trade’s person losing their livelihood every 12 minutes. The impact of tool theft is not just a financial loss but also has a huge mental health impact on those affected by this crime.

Trades United seeks to hold the government accountable and ensure the laws designed to protect tradespeople are effectively enforced.

Shoaib Awan launched a petition (#659019) for the current Government to address this issue with campaign group Trades United, since the announcement of dissolution of Parliament (30th May 2024) this will automatically be closed. The current petition reached over 46,000 signatures. However, he still urges everyone to support the cause in a bid to get their voices heard and issues addressed by future MP’s and their parties.

Founder of campaign group Trades United Shoaib Awan, said:

“On the 3rd June 2024 I will bring tradespeople across the country together at Parliament square, for the Government to see the distress these thieves and boot sales have caused to their livelihoods. Tool theft numbers are rising year on year and not enough from the Government has been done to protect the trades. A crime reference number is no longer acceptable. What are we heading towards a Wild West? This lawlessness needs to come to an end. We don’t want policies that don’t work we need strict enforcement and a crackdown operation with IMMEDIATE EFFECT. As tax paying and law abiding citizens we deserve better!

It’s distressing how widespread tool theft has become, impacting not only livelihoods but also mental well-being and family stability. The lack of effective intervention from law enforcement only exacerbates the problem. Businesses suffer not only from the loss of tools but also from the subsequent financial burdens such as increased insurance costs and repairs. It’s essential for communities, policymakers, and law enforcement agencies to work together to address this epidemic and provide support for those affected.

The use of car boot sales to sell stolen tools highlights the need for tighter regulations and enforcement to prevent the sale of stolen goods. This not only perpetuates the cycle of theft but also makes it challenging for victims to recover their belongings. Authorities should consider implementing measures to crack down on the sale of stolen goods at such venues to deter thieves and protect consumers”.

Sam – The Bald Builders:

“We are proud to announce that we will be attending the event on June 3rd to stand in solidarity with every tradesperson across the UK in the fight against tool theft. This issue affects us all, as thieves target our vans daily, causing countless hardworking individuals to lose their livelihoods. Without our tools, we cannot work, and when we cannot work, we cannot provide for our families. Imagine if you worked in an office, and your computer was stolen repeatedly—your ability to earn a living and support your family would vanish in an instant. This situation is unacceptable, and it must come to an end. Join us in demanding stronger measures to protect our essential tools and ensure a secure future for all tradespeople”.

Lindsey Fowler –

“After visiting a car boot sale in Tottenham a few months ago, I was alarmed by the vast amount of power tools on sale, many of which I strongly suspect are stolen. This prompted me to act, but my efforts have unfortunately been met with considerable resistance and apathy from local authorities.

When I contacted the Haringey Council Licensing Department, they informed me that the market is held on private land and therefore out of their jurisdiction. The local police acknowledged that the goods were likely stolen but claimed there was very little they could do without concrete proof. Furthermore, my appeals to Haringey councillors and MPs yielded no effective assistance. It has become painfully clear to me that this crime is not being taken seriously; it is almost as if it is considered an occupational hazard.

As a tradesman who has had his van broken into countless times over the past 20 years, including having my van stolen and never found, I can attest to the frustration and financial strain this crime causes. Every tradesman I know has faced similar violations. Despite taking every precaution, we find ourselves helpless against the increasingly violent tactics used by these criminals, who act with impunity, confident that there will be no consequences for their actions.

This type of crime was virtually unheard of two decades ago but has been escalating year after year. The lack of effective deterrents only emboldens these criminals further.

I firmly believe that cutting off the means for criminals to sell stolen goods is the only viable solution. If they cannot profit from their thefts, they will have no incentive to continue stealing, which in turn will reduce the burden on our police force. It’s a win-win scenario.

Shoaib Awan is making significant contributions to addressing a critical issue in the industry, and his efforts, along with those of other players, are greatly appreciated. It’s always encouraging to see individuals take a stand against injustices and work towards positive change. I will be proud to join the convoy drive into Parliament Square on 3rd of June”.

Joe – Second City Screed Ltd:

“I am proud to be attending the event on June 3rd to raise awareness of the situation that is occurring at present with the theft of tools from tradesman’s vehicles. If working hard all week to provide for your family wasn’t hard enough, there is now another obstacle to prevent us from earning money to survive. The thieves that are taking these tools and can sell them at car boots without any proof of purchase or licence etc and this is unacceptable. We need to put a stop to this, so it prevents them from stealing more. If there is no market for the tools to be sold, then it takes away the reason to steal them in the first place. I for one am fully behind any petition or event that raises awareness and can get the government to make this matter an urgent priority on their agenda”.

Karm Warshawaya – Build Works:

“I’m here because a year ago my van and all my tools were stolen in broad daylight. To say the impact of this was paralysing both emotionally physically and financially is an understatement. Within 2 hours everything we built over 10 years was gone. I was simply told let your insurance deal with it. Tools are stolen every 17 minutes in the UK. Stolen Tool trafficking is incredibly lucrative for petty criminals, more needs to be done to protect tradespeople. Car boots and cash converters are the easiest no trail places to sell stolen tools. Help us to end this and make sure no tradespeople go through what we did”.

Bri Parky – :

“Tool theft is at an all-time high and this is getting worse by the day. In my 15 years of self-employment, I have had my tools stolen on two different occasions, once in the night-time and another in broad daylight. My ability to work had gone in an instant. My van was damaged and off the road for repairs, my bank account empty because I had to buy replacement tools. My insurance premiums gone through the roof. My customers let down and in return on both occasions all I had was a crime reference number and sleepless nights and anxiety, not even a visit from the police. Livelihoods are being ruined and businesses are being broken every twelve minutes due to tool theft and this must stop. If a trades person has never had their tools stolen it is a guarantee that they know someone who has. Please support us and sign our petition”.

Ben Smallwood – Smallwood PHR Ltd:

“As someone who’s van has been robbed and emptied, I’ll be attending the London protest on the 3rd of June to make the public aware of the situation their trades people are facing every day. Trades are needed every minute in the UK, why should we be worried about leaving our vans outside a customer’s house, worrying about every noise day and night. Protect the trades and stop the resale of stolen tools!!”

Daniel Young – D Young Plumbing and Heating Ltd:

“I will be making the journey to London on the 3rd of June to join the protest to raise the awareness of tool theft and the effect it has on tradesmen/women. Not only does it impact financially for the replacement of tools, the repairs to vans and loss of earnings whilst having no tools. I believe it heavily effects mentally also. The stress of then being financially set back, the stress of having to reorganise work schedules and the knock-on effects. Plus, the paranoia of not knowing vans and tools are safe when unattended whether that be whilst parked up at work, in car parks or overnight on the driveway. Checking the van last thing on an evening, first thing on a morning and even during the night sometimes. Having to spend extra hundreds of pounds on aftermarket security such as locks, alarms and trackers all in the aid of protecting one’s livelihood. I believe this matter needs addressing now and in such a way tradesmen and women can be assured something will be done about tool theft for good”.

Featured Photo by sol on Unsplash.

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