Tool Smart

Security mark your tools

If you take the time to security mark your tools, it will protect them against theft and assist the police to return your property to you if it is stolen and recovered. 

There are a number of ways of security marking your items, these include:

  • Ultra violet (UV) or invisible marking - UV pens put an invisible mark on your property that can only be seen under UV light.
  • Engraving or etching - Both methods are suitable for many hard surfaces and can be done using an electric engraving tool or hand engraver.
  • Ceramic marking - Ceramic marking pens are designed to mark china, glass or glazed surfaces. They do not cut or scratch the surface but do leave a permanent mark.
  • Forensic marking solutions - These are harmless solutions that contain a unique forensic code (like a fingerprint), making it easy to identify marked items. Firms that provide these marking solutions include: Smartwater www.smartwater.com SelectaDNAwww.selectadna.co.uk ·  Applied DNA Scienceswww.adnas.com 

Keep an inventory

We also recommend that you take colour photographs of any valuable or unusual items, paying special attention to any distinguishing marks such as initials or crests. Photographs should be taken against a plain background and include a ruler to give an idea of size. The police can then use these pictures in press releases and on social media to assist in recovering your items. Make a note of serial numbers, model numbers and anything else that can help identify your tools.


Immobilise is the world's largest FREE register of possession ownership details and together with its sister sites the Police's NMPR (www.thenmpr.com) and CheckMEND (www.checkmend.com) forms a very effective tool in helping to reduce crime and repatriate recovered personal property to its rightful owners. Immobilise can be used by members of the public and businesses to register their valued possessions or company assets, and exclusive to Immobilise all account holders registered items and ownership details are viewable on the police national property database the NMPR (www.thenmpr.com). This online checking service is used by all UK police forces to trace owners of lost and stolen property. In addition Immobilise is checked daily by a huge range of recovery agencies and lost property offices.

Secure your van

Prioritise security when buying your van

  • Modify the van to your needs. Fit a quality tool chest with a Sold Secure padlock inside your van. Fit weldmesh panels inside rear van windows, a weldmesh screen separating the passenger area from the rear of van and a slide bolt to the upper part of the sliding side door.
  • Use a pedal box guard to encase the pedals when the vehicle is not in use to help prevent the theft of the van.  Fit an on-board diagnostic (OBD) safe device, a secure lockable device that fits over vehicle’s OBD electronic port.
  • Upgrade the security on your van – fit an independent alarm, don’t rely on the factory fitted alarm which turns off when the vehicle is unlocked.
  • Catalytic converter – fit anti-theft device as generally vans are higher off the ground which makes it easier to steal these.
  • Use your van locks and alarm.
  • When locking your van if using a remote, physically check the van is locked by checking the door handle.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your van – if you do it must have high security locks and an independent alarm fitted.
  • Think about where you park - if staying at a hotel can you store your valuable tools with the hotel / park under good lighting and where there is CCTV coverage and is visible from hotel rooms.
  • Keep a record of what’s in your van – was it marked, is it identifiable, do you have a photograph of it? Ideally engrave or mark tools and their boxes with your post code and house number, and highlight the post code with a different coloured paint and register serial numbers free of charge on Immobilise.

Secure Your Shed/Workshop/Garage

  • Always lock your shed or garage after use.
  • Secure workshop or shed doors by fitting a strong hasp and staple (also called a padbar). Secure this with coach bolts and lock the hasp over the staple with a closed shackle padlock.
  • Secure door hinges with coach bolts or non-returnable screws.
  • Further protect your workshop or shed with a ‘shed bar’. This and other approved security products will improve the security of your shed or garage and can be found at www.soldsecure.com or www.securedbydesign.com
  • Replace any rotten door or window frames.
  • Replace broken glass panes or use perspex or polycarbonate as a more secure alternative for shed and garage windows. Use a window lock along with a strong grille or wire mesh. Use curtains or netting so people cannot see inside. Screw windows shut if you do not use them.
  • Fit a good quality battery operated alarm to your outbuilding.
  • Up-and-over garage doors can be secured by putting padlocks through the inside runners or fitting padlocks with a hasp and staple on either side of the door.
  • Fit British Standard approved locks to all your external garage doors including integral doors which access your house.
  • If you have a household alarm fitted, consider extending the system to cover your garage.
  • Chain items such as ladders and large power tools to a strong anchor point or to each other and use a closed shackle padlock.
  • Consider a secure metal tool cage and keep this locked when you leave the premises.

uWatch Cube

The uWatch Cube is Approved by Secured by Design. It is a completely portable and instantly deployable security device. It is mains or battery powered and has a variety of smart sensors and features such as a day/night IR camera, PIR moon, Shock, Temperature and GPS tracking. It detects activity in real me and delivers alerts to your smartphone, typically in under a minute. The Cube will instantly inform you if someone has broken into or moved your van. The portability of the cube means you can move it from your van to the building site or inside your tool bag. Why wait until you are a victim? Go to www.uwatch.co.uk/trade-tool-theft

Follow the Golden Rules to keep your power tools secure

  • Always lock all doors & shut windows, physically checking doors are locked.
  • Don’t leave any items on display.
  • Park in a garage or secure area where possible.
  • Park with the doors against a wall.
  • If you park on your driveway consider installing moon activated CCTV.
  • Be particularly aware when un-loading tools/materials from your van.
  • Remove tools from the van if possible.
  • Remove copper piping from storage tube on the van.
  • Register tools for free at www.immobilise.com, especially serial numbers.
  • Security mark all your tools.
  • To increase the security of tools, you can bolt either a cage or box to the base of the van which should be secured with a sturdy close shackle padlock.
  • Setting an alarm or immobiliser will make it more difficult for the offender. 
  • Consider upgrading locks/fitting additional protection.
  • Always check your van/tools before heading off to work/site.
  • Keep a full inventory of all tools with serial Nos and photographs.


For all your crime prevention advice visit our website and
look on the A– Z of Crime Prevention


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