Research shows that 7 in 10 tradespeople have had their tools stolen

21 Nov , 2023  

Delayed jobs, losing out on work and even having to take out a loan or borrow money are just some of the implications for tradespeople when tools are stolen according to a new survey from Chadwicks Group.

The research carried out by Ireland’s leading builders’ merchants among 375 tradespeople around the issue of tool theft reveals that 71% of tradespeople have had their tools stolen with over a third (35%) saying the value of tools stolen was in excess of €3,000. 62% have had to delay a job or postpone work due to this issue, 36% had to take out a loan or borrow money to replace stolen tools while 11% say it put them out of work.

Two thirds of tradespeople say tools were stolen from their van or car while 51% say they have had tools stolen from the job. Indicating the severity of this issue, 34% say they had their tools stolen twice in their career while 18% say it’s happened three times. 74% say the theft was reported to the Gardaí but in the majority of cases, the stolen items were not recovered.

Despite this being a significant issue for the trades, 82% admit to not having their tools insured, 70% don’t have a lock box for their tools and (22%) say they don’t mark their tools to help identify them if taken.

The purchasing of tools for work is a significant outlay for tradespeople with 34% saying they need to buy some form of tools each month and 43% every six months. Almost three quarters spend an average of €2,000 a year on tools.

Commenting on the findings Patrick Atkinson, CEO, Chadwicks Group said: “The issue of tool theft is a significant one for the industry and the repercussions of which have a serious impact for tradespeople. Our research shows that 71% are affected by this issue and for many this has happened more than once in their career.  We want to raise awareness for this issue and provide tradespeople with advice on how to help safeguard their tools.”

Chadwicks has added two lock boxes to its online offering: the Cat CT28R and Cat CT44R. Priced from €659, the Cat Jobsite Chests are built with 16-Gauge steel and feature secure pins and a double padlock system to help resist break in attempts. Both lock boxes have a built-in tool tray to keep smaller parts easily organised, with plenty of space for bigger tools underneath.

Advice from An Garda Síochána on how to keep tools safe:

  • Tradespeople should mark their own tools and lock them away:
    • Consider using your Eircode as your special code to mark your tools
    • Mark property using UV ink near the serial number or on the back in the top right-hand corner of the tool
    • UV ink will need to be reapplied for tools used regularly
    • Create a property register list which includes the item, make and model, serial number, cost and whether it’s marked. This list should be kept in a safe place with copies sent to insurance providers
    • Take clear photos of tools and equipment
    • Ensure property is recorded and indexed using the free An Garda Síochána Property App
  • When driving, keep valuables out of sight and keep all doors and windows locked. Where possible, avoid parking in isolated places and park in well-lit areas at night time.

For more information on the lock boxes available from, visit: CAT Site Box 278 LitreCAT Site Box 521 Litre (

For more information on the Garda Property app, visit: An Garda Síochána App – Garda