Van thefts hit record levels: 45% increase in four years

Image of James Kelly
Author: | Updated: 30 Oct 2019 10:30

Almost 10,000 vans and commercial vehicles were stolen in the UK last year – a 4% rise year-on-year and a 45% increase over the last four years. The figures show that vans in London and West Yorkshire are most at risk.

Van theft image

Of the 9,371 van thefts reported in the past 12 months, 4,777 were stolen in Great London area – a rise of 15%. The biggest yearly increase in thefts was reported in Leicestershire with 10 times more vans stolen in 2018/19 than records for the year before.

Van thefts in North Wales doubled while West Yorkshire police records show a 67% rise. In fact, West Yorkshire was the second highest overall (931 thefts), followed by the West Midlands (409), Essex (387) and Leicestershire (377). The full list is below.

RegionStolen vans 2017/18Stolen vans 2018/19Y-O-Y increase
London4,1374,77715%
West Yorkshire55793167%
West Midlands1,505409-73%
Essex22838770%
Leicestershire40377843%
Hertfordshire20625323%
Derbyshiren/a229
Surrey210208-1%
Avon and Somerset16619316%
Sussexn/a181

Volkswagen Commericial Vehicles – who carried out the research – has advised that van drivers and fleet managers should ensure all vehicles are kitted out with anti-theft devices. It also pointed out it’s a good idea to remove valuable tools and equipment from vehicles at night.

Here are its top tips to secure a van:

  • Park in well-lit areas or car parks with CCTV
  • Window guards/full internal bulkheads can stop thieves seeing inside
  • Adding security film to rear windows can stop criminals smashing it
  • Fitting additional locks externally can help deter thieves
  • Investing in lockable internal steering locks and storage boxes
  • Fitting a tracker

David Hanna of Volkswagen Commercial said: “Our most recent findings are concerning as it reveals that the problem of van theft is getting worse rather than better – and it’s a problem right across the country.

“Vans are the lifeblood of so many businesses up and down the country and it’s not only the emotional stress of replacing the vehicle but also the days and weeks of letting customers down and the cost of replacing tools, often worth thousands of pounds, before you can get back to ‘business as usual”.

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