The 32,056 vehicles stolen since 2015 represents a 45 percent increase over the last four years, with nearly 10,000 (9,371) thefts being recorded across the UK in the last year alone, according to official police statistics. That figure represents a year-on-year rise of four percent and a 45 percent increase since 2015/16.
That wasn't the biggest yearly increase though – that came in Leicestershire which had 10 times more vans stolen in 2018/19 than the year before. West Yorkshire had the second-highest overall number of thefts with 931 thefts, representing a 67 percent rise. The West Midlands (409 thefts ), Essex (387 thefts) and Leicestershire (377 thefts) also featured high on the list.
"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," said David Hanna, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles' head of service and parts operations. "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’."
"Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is committed to supporting our customers wherever possible and that includes preventing them from becoming victims of van theft," he added. "We strongly advise not to leave tools in the vehicle overnight and we’re also supporting our customers with offers on the latest anti-theft devices to help give them piece of mind."
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has also put together a list of tips for keeping your van safe and secure as well:
- Park in well-lit areas or car parks with CCTV or alternatively position your van so that the doors are blocked by another vehicle or object.
- Window guards or full internal bulkheads can stop would-be thieves seeing inside.
- Adding security film to the side or back window glass can stop criminals smashing it.
- Fitting additional locks to rear and sliding doors can help deter thieves.
- Invest in lockable internal racking or secure storage boxes for your most valuable tools.
- Fitting a tracker can help police hunt down the van if it is stolen plus it may reduce your insurance premium.