Tradespeople are advised to keep their tools safe following a spate of building site thefts.
When not in use, tools should be safely locked away in aluminium toolboxes, Melbourne Building Association leader Stephen Lyons said.
“It used to be that you would chuck all your tools in a tray under a load cover, but with thieves among us we have to be more vigilant about tool storage,” said Lyons.
“It is so important that builders keep their tools safe, such as by using aluminium toolboxes which can be fitted to your ute,” he said.
Lyons revealed that there has been an epidemic of tool thefts in the Western suburbs, with five known incidents in the past week. All occurred with insecurely stored tools which were left unattended, often for hours at a time, according to Lyons.
“I don’t want to step on the toes of investigators, but I think what we’re looking at here is thieves taking advantage of those who leave their tools out in the open. The good news is that those who store their tools safely in service bodies appear not to be targets,” he said.
Self-employed cabinet maker Jay Silver was a recent victim of theft when installing a cupboard for a commercial kitchen.
“I left some of my tools in the passenger seat, and I guess that was too tempting to passersby because when I came back everything was gone,” he said.
“And insurance won’t cover it because I didn’t have them properly stored. It’s a real nightmare for my business at the moment. When I replace my tools I’ll be getting a custom aluminium toolbox built for the Hilux.”
The thefts have led to a surge in demand for removable service bodies for utes, as tradespeople heed advice of unions and other professional organisations to keep their tools safe.
Custom service body services are inundated with orders and advise customers to place their orders as soon as possible to avoid delays.