Armstead white van for tradespeople

How to Keep your Van Safe

At Armstead, we know how vital vans are for the nation’s painters and decorators. They’re not merely a means of transport - they’re also where you store the tools and equipment that you’ve accumulated over a lifetime. In short - a van’s value goes far beyond just what the vehicle is worth.

Sadly though, this makes them prime targets for thieves. The rate of van thefts in the UK is staggeringly high. According to a study by Logistics UK in November 2020, more than a third of businesses had a van stolen in the previous 12-month period*.

And after a year and a half of pandemic-related uncertainty, many tradespeople are working hard to build back their businesses. So shelling out money and being left unable to work as a result of van theft is something that many can’t afford.

It has never been more crucial to keep your van safe from damage and theft. You can’t make your vehicle 100% thief-proof, but there are a few simple steps you can take to minimise the chances of it happening.


Thieves tend to strike at night and in secluded locations, as it makes them less likely to be seen by passers by and caught on CCTV cameras. 

Therefore, parking in areas that are well lit and with higher levels of activity - such as main roads or close to shops - can help deter thieves.

Parking close to walls also makes it harder for thieves to break into your van, as they can be used to block access to the rear and main doors.

Security Devices

Most vans come fitted with alarm systems. But, if your vehicle doesn’t have one, you can install one yourself. Some of these alarms employ smart technology that link to a phone or tablet app, alerting you to any suspicious activity.

Stickers to show you have CCTV and alarm systems fitted can cause thieves to think twice about targeting your van. Even if thieves don’t make it into your vehicle, attempts can leave it damaged.

Add alarms to your van to deter thieves

Remove Tools Overnight

Removing tools overnight is absolutely essential. 

A study from WhatCar? found that there was an 8.21% increase in van theft between 2017 and 2018, continuing well into 2019 - and this resulted in a cost of more than £61.9m to businesses in lost tools and other items since 2016*. 

So if your van does get stolen, replacing essential tools and expensive equipment will be one less thing to worry about.

And stickers stating that tools aren’t left in the van overnight are also available, which can also deter thieves from attempting a break-in.

Remove tools from your van for safety

Keep Valuables Out Of Sight

Leaving a smartphone, wallet or expensive kit can draw unwanted attention to your van. Keep them locked away or, even better, take them with you whenever you leave your vehicle. 

Make sure to keep your keys out of sight too, as thieves will be able to take them or clone them using a number of methods, including breaking into property and using a key cloning device. 

Keep valuables in your van out of sight

Lock Your Van

Keeping your vehicle locked sounds like a no-brainer, but we’re all guilty of sometimes leaving cars and vans unlocked to carry out errands or tasks.

Most insurance companies won’t cover you if the theft has been carried out on an unlocked van, so make sure to lock it whenever it’s unattended and double check it's locked by trying to open the door.

For more information, including helpful tips, make sure to follow us on Facebook, and sign up to the Armstead newsletter.

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