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

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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.

Region Stolen vans 2017/18 Stolen vans 2018/19 Y-O-Y increase
London 4,137 4,777 15%
West Yorkshire 557 931 67%
West Midlands 1,505 409 -73%
Essex 228 387 70%
Leicestershire 40 377 843%
Hertfordshire 206 253 23%
Derbyshire n/a 229
Surrey 210 208 -1%
Avon and Somerset 166 193 16%
Sussex n/a 181

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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