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Van thefts to hit 12,000 in 2022, insurer warns

Van crime has risen by 169% over the past five years, and the Mercedes Sprinter is the most stolen van in Britain...

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter parked

Most modern vans feature a selection of security features, but that won’t stop thieves stealing 33 of them every day by the end of the year – 21 more per day than in 2015.

Insurance firm Compare the Market predicts that around 12,000 vans will be stolen by the end of 2022 – an increase of 81% from 2015 to 2019, and a 169% increase over the past five years.

The Mercedes Sprinter large van fitted with the 313 CDI diesel engine is predicted to be the worst-affected vehicle, with 1526 examples expected to be stolen in 2022 – 66 more than in 2019. The 314 CDI version of the Sprinter is the second-most stolen van, while the Ford Transit 350 comes in third.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter front

Greater London is expected to experience the highest level of van theft across the country, with more than 3000 vans predicted to be stolen from the area alone this year. 

Other van crime hotspots include the East Midlands – where 280 vans are predicted to be stolen this year – and Yorkshire and Humberside, where 215 vans are expected to be stolen by the end of 2022.

South West England, the West Midlands and the North should see the lowest levels of van theft, with 96, 90 and 87 vans set to be stolen from each region respectively until the end of 2022. 

Hull tops vehicle car crime league

The rise in van crime shows no sign of slowing down, either, with such crimes expected to increase by 70% over the next eight years. If figures continue to increase at current rates, 20,000 vans will be stolen in 2030 – equivalent to 56 vans every day.

With most vans being used to transport tradespeople and their tools from job to job, particular emphasis is being placed on protecting their contents. More than 67% of van break-ins involved the theft of tools, with only 1% ever being recovered. 

Working equipment and personal items are also at high risk of theft from vans, while electronic devices and sale goods are also likely to be stolen.

Vauxhall Movano load space

A What Car? investigation in 2020 revealed that although more than 90% of vans are fitted with central locking as standard and 80% are sold with a harder-to-pick deadlock from the factory, only 42% of vans feature an alarm as standard.

This lack of security is likely a contributing factor to the large amount of crime, though many vans are stolen through “relay” methods – where the signal from a keyless van’s keys is relayed to remotely start the vehicle – much in the same way as cars.

You can reduce the risk of your van being broken into or stolen by locking your van, adding a tracker, ensuring that valuables are out of sight and parking in well-lit areas.


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