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On 15 June 2022, Greg Smith presented the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Bill. This Private Member’s Bill is seeking to prevent the theft and re-sale of equipment and tools used by tradespeople and agricultural and other businesses, and for connected purposes.

Equipment and tool theft is a common issue in the UK. Research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) estimated that in 2019, eight in ten builders had their tools stolen. Tool theft is a concern for many tradespeople – the most common targets are those who store and transport equipment in vans. The theft of tools is an issue across trades, with roofers and electricians amongst those most likely to be victims of tool theft.

The prominence of the second-hand tool market is helping to drive tool theft across the country. Second-hand tools are more affordable and can be relatively easy to source. The second-hand tool market is not regulated which means sellers do not have to prove the origins of items they are selling or evidence the original purchase. Stakeholders and those working in trades have argued this encourages and facilitates tool theft because it makes selling stolen equipment simple and easy.

At present, a number of practical strategies, including the installation of tool safes and the marking of tools are suggested by industry stakeholders to prevent such thefts. Independent companies have also developed apps to record ownership of tools. This is designed to help report thefts and discourage the resale of stolen tools.  


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