A campaign calling on the government to do more to tackle van and tool thefts has been started by plumber Peter Booth (@pbplumber).
The #noVANber campaign is an online petition asking the government to investigate what can be done to prevent this problem, such as introducing new legislation, tougher sentencing guidelines, or restrictions on the selling of second-hand tools.
The petition has received more than 21,000 signatures since it started on 1 November, and will now receive a formal written response from the government. Peter hopes to gather 100,000 signatures before 1 May 2019, so that the petition will also be considered for a parliamentary debate.
#noVANber is being supported by manufacturers, merchants, and tradespeople from across the construction industry.
Peter said: “I can’t believe how it’s taken off. It’s great to see the whole community coming together to get behind the campaign – this is something that affects all the trades.”
Recent figures obtained by Trade Direct Insurance reveal that stolen tool and van thefts cost UK tradespeople more than £94 million in 2016, with the average insurance claim for stolen tools reaching around £1,200.
Peter started #noVANber after seeing the number of posts on Twitter from tradespeople who had suffered thefts of tools from their vans, and the impact it had on their businesses. The campaign is calling for tougher sentences and deterrents to be in place for anyone convicted of stealing tools from a tradesperson, or found selling stolen tools.
He said: “The crime of stealing tools from a tradesperson attracts the same sentence as stealing anything from a car, but when you steal from a tradesperson you’re stealing someone’s livelihood and their ability to work. That’s what I want to change. We need a proper deterrent and for the police to really clamp down on it.”
Peter is urging anyone who wants to get involved to sign the petition, and to ask their friends, family and customers to do so. Any tradesperson who wants to help spread the word can contact their local merchant and ask them to raise awareness, and can also speak to their local papers and radio stations about the campaign.
Free van stickers raising awareness of #noVANber are available by contacting @pbplumber on Twitter.
The petition is online at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/231177