More than 30 vans stolen each day as alarms still not standard on all models


More than 43,000 vans have been stolen since 2016, with a further 117,000 broken into, costing drivers and businesses more than £61.9 million in lost tools and other items – yet still four in 10 new vans do not come with an alarm as standard, an investigation has found.

What Car? Vans analysed all new vans on sale today, including every van derivative and their trim variations – in all more than 200 vans – and found that 58% of models come with a factory fitted alarm as standard. Another 36.5% were found to offer a factory fitted alarm as an optional extra, while 5.5% of vans are not available with an alarm at all – though these tend to be older model iterations soon to be replaced.

Other security features, including remote central locking, were better represented with more than 90% of vehicles featuring the tech as standard, while deadlocks – a locking mechanism that doesn’t use a spring, making it harder to pick – are standard in more than 80% of vans on sale.

The lack of alarm technology helps explain the high number of van thefts in the UK. Between 2016 and 2019, 43,909 vans were stolen across the UK, according to figures sourced by What Car? From across the country’s 45 police forces through a Freedom of Information Request. This equates to more than 30 vans a day, although the figure could be higher as 38 out of 45 forces responded to the FOI, with 29 able to provide figures to at least one of the questions.

The worst area for van thefts was London, with 14,263 vans stolen in the four-year period, while 44,742 were broken into by thieves. Across all police forces, van thefts rose by 8.21% between 2017 and 2018. Theft figures for the first half of 2019 suggest another year of rising statistics, with more than 8,200 vans stolen in the first six months of last year.

Jim Holder, editorial director at What Car? Vans, said: “More than four million van drivers rely on their vehicle for work or business needs. The fact that four out of 10 new vans on sale do not feature a factory fitted alarm as standard is a cause for concern – especially as our research found more than 43,000 have been stolen since 2016, with a further 117,000 broken into.

“While newer vans and higher trim specifications now come with many of the security features as standard, it’s concerning to see owners of lower trim levels having to fork out extra for something as simple as an alarm – this is something the industry needs to work on and underlines why van buyers must do careful research before purchasing their next vehicle.”

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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