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  • Mark Salisbury

Van theft is on the rise and is set to increase 62% by 2030

Updated: May 11, 2023

COMPARETHEMARKET.COM has predicted future levels of van theft could double to 20,000 in the next decade after research found an 81% increase from 2015 to 2019. The research also highlights the makes and models of vehicles that are most at risk and the most frequently stolen contents from a break-in.

During 2015, 12 vans were being stolen each day across the country, rising to 33 vans during 2022. predicts that the level of theft could reach as high as 56 thefts per day by 2030, equating to 20,000 stolen vans annually.

The lowest levels of theft have been reported in the North of England, followed by West Midlands, South West of England and Wales. Unsurprisingly, Greater London has the highest rate and could see over three thousand van thefts during 2030 alone.

The van models most at risk across the UK

During 2019, the vans most at risk were Mercedes Sprinter models, this remains the same in 2022, as predictions show the Mercedes Sprinter 313 CDI will be the most stolen van model, increasing to 66 more annual thefts in just three years.

Tools, equipment and personal items are the most stolen from break-ins

Over 67% of break-Ins include having tools stolen, and research shows that only 1% are ever recovered due to their high resale value, leaving a devastating impact on tradespeople and their ability to do their job. has created useful content and tips on keeping vans and their contents protected, along with the full research.

Helpful handyman tips to avoiding van theft

Taking into consideration the prevalence of van theft, we have also pulled together 5 top tips for keeping your van, and its contents, as safe as possible.

Locking your van

Simple? Yes, but remembering to always lock your van is the first and most essential tip to protecting your van and contents.

Consider adding extra security, such as a slam fitted lock which automatically locks the door when it's shut.

Add your own safety measures

Although a more expensive option, adding a GPS tracker into your van is worth it as the police can keep track of your vehicle if it's stolen, giving you a much higher chance of getting it and your belongings back.

Consider labelling your tools with a UV pen too, this appears invisible to the naked eye but can be identified by police if your stolen tools are recovered.

Lastly, keep an inventory of your tools - write down the makes and quantities you have so in the worst case, you can quickly identify what’s been stolen.

Safely storing valuables

Don't leave your valuables on display. If your wallet is on show, keys visible and tools sprawled, you have a higher chance of thieves peering in.

Removing your valuables each evening is the safest option. However, if your belongings, such as your tools need to be kept in the van, consider investing in a safe that’s been tested and recognised against crime.

Think twice about parking

Parking in a place that will deter thieves will likely lower your chances of a robbery. We recommend parking so that your doors are inaccessible, ie. against a wall or fence, blocking direct access to them. This will help avoid 'peel and steal' - the common tactic where a door is wrenched off without the use of any tools.

Think sensibly and park in a guarded, busy and well-lit area, with CCTV around whenever possible.


A van insurance spokesperson at Compare the Market adds; “Having insurance won't prevent your personal items, tools or van from being stolen but it can make the aftermath less stressful. It is worth spending the time understanding what your insurance covers, if you don’t already know, or before you take out a new policy. This way you can be confident that your van and your contents are covered in the worst-case scenario.”

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