Staggering extent of tool thefts in Sheffield revealed, with more than 2,600 vehicles targeted in last five years

The staggering extent of tool thefts in Sheffield has been revealed, with more than 2,600 vehicles having been targeted in the last five years.

Between 2014 and the end of November last year, tools were reported as being stolen from motor vehicles across the city 2,635 times, figures obtained by The Star under the Freedom of Information Act show.

Tools were reported as being stolen from vehicles in Sheffield 2,635 times in the last five years

Tools were reported as being stolen from vehicles in Sheffield 2,635 times in the last five years

The worst neighbourhoods for tool theft have also been revealed, with 21 recorded within the city centre between December 5, 2017 and November 30 last year, during which time 20 were logged in Hillsborough and 19 in the wards of both Crookes & Crosspool and Dore & Totley.

READ MORE: Sheffield business owner claims police ‘failed to examine’ scene where £12, 000 crane was stolen

In 2016, tools were reported as being stolen from 757 vehicles across Sheffield, more than double the 303 such crimes logged in 2014.

That figure fell sharply to 352 between December 5, 2017 and November 30, 2018, though it is not clear whether a change in the way crimes are recorded played a part in this rapid decline.

Police have advised people to removetoolsfrom their vehicles overnight, where possible

Police have advised people to removetoolsfrom their vehicles overnight, where possible

Police figures also show tools were recorded as being stolen from people’s homes 597 times in the last five years, and from other buildings 1,197 times.

READ MORE: Police issue warning over thefts from cars and vans in Sheffield

The Federation of Small Businesses has described tool theft as a major issue for tradespeople.

Claire Reading, the organisation’s South Yorkshire development manager last year said it could be ‘particularly devastating’, forcing them to cancel jobs and lay off staff until they were re-equipped.

She told how many small firms had given up reporting crimes against their businesses because they didn’t feel it would achieve anything.

READ MORE: No arrests yet over theft of shotguns from Sheffield shop

According to the FSB, business crime affects up to a third of UK firms annually, costing small companies more than £12 billion.

It has called for more resources to be allocated to fighting business crime, and for firms to be given a greater say in local policing strategies to tackle the issue.

South Yorkshire Police did not respond to The Star’s enquiry about what it is doing to tackle tool theft, but the force did provide the following tips for people to avoid falling victim:

Consider fitting number plate security screws

Fit your wheels with lockable wheel nuts, protect the spare wheel from being stolen by fitting a spare wheel guard

If you can, remove tools from your vehicle overnight

If you are unable to remove expensive equipment, keep it in a storage box or a vault that is fixed to the floor

If possible, park your van on a drive or in a garage

Park against a wall, side-by-side or back-to-back with another vehicle to prevent anyone getting into the side or back doors of the van

If you are unable to park on a drive, look for somewhere secure, well-lit and in view of CCTV

Make sure your tools are easily identifiable and marked with a vehicle registration number or postcode, so they can be easily returned if recovered by police

Consider whether you’ve got the right insurance; most standard van insurance policies do not cover loss of tools left in a van overnight

TOOL THEFTS FROM MOTOR VEHICLES IN SHEFFIELD

2018++: 352

2017+: 719

2016: 757

2015: 504

2014: 303

2013: 449

++ this figure is for the period December 5, 2017 – November 30, 2018

++ this figure is for the period January 1, 2017 – December 4, 2017