Figures suggest that a van is broken into and tools stolen every 23 minutes in the UK.
Police figures obtained by the BBC suggest this kind of theft has risen by nearly two-thirds in two years.
Trades people are calling it an "epidemic" that is destroying livelihoods, with thousands of pounds worth of Tools and Equipment being stolen from self employed trades people who are reliant on these possessions to earn a living.
Due to the sheer volume of incidents and the difficulty in identifying the thiefs, Police forces throughout the country are not taking action, simply providing the victim with a crime number for future reference.
In an attempt to prevent thefts a number of additional security products have hit the market with the view of enhancing and increasing the security of the Van from which these tools are being stolen. However, simply increasing the security for a Van is proving insufficient in tackling the problem, with hundreds of examples of Vans being broken into by drilling locks, cutting electrical cables, peeling back side and rear doors and even whole Van roofs being cut and peeled off!
With both Factory and aftermarket security systems for Vans not providing a robust or reliable solution to prevent the theft of tools, I decided to explore what other solutions there could be reaching the conclusion that the only truly reliable solution would be to track the location of the tools, meaning in the event of theft their recovery is straightforward and Police can be armed with information to facilitate their proactivity in dealing with incidents of theft.
Our extensive research uncovered that the existing products available for tagging, tracking and locating Tools each have major drawbacks. With RFID Tagging being reliant on the tools being recovered and taken to a Police station to identify the Owner and with the only tracking devices being reliant on Bluetooth technology which of course only work within a very small range.
Following comprehensive research into existing products and technologies, including a multitude of variants of GPS, GSM and Bluetooth technologies, it was clear that there is both a gap in the market for a robust solution, but also a huge demand.
Having confirmed that GPS Technology is the only suitable technology for my product, I invested in learning about the technical aspects of GPS Technology and the essential components required to produce a tracking device.
I then spent time with a network of Tradesmen, as well as representatives from some Tool Manufacturers to understand what would be needed from the product in order to be suitable, not interfere with the performance of the Tool, be robust enough to handle the environment and vibrations and ultimately gain insight into how our device will be applied.
Armed with all of the above information, we made contact with Product Design and Development contacts based in China, this enabled us to understand the feasibility and costs involved with producing such a specialist product.