It’s a tough life being an installer. While every day is different, you’ll always have ‘difficult’ customers to deal with, traffic to fight against, electricians to clean up after… the list is endless. Certainly, the last thing you want to worry about is unscrupulous individuals perceiving your van to be a potential bank vault on wheels – only one that is much easier to break into and with fewer risks involved.

Yet it seems this is an issue that van owners from all trades have to deal with, on a regular basis. You only have to talk to visitors at a tradeshow, earwig at a local merchant or (very) briefly scroll through social media feeds online, to understand the extent of the problem.

While many will now take their valuable tools and equipment out of their vans overnight, this doesn’t put a stop to attempted break-ins, leaving vehicles needing costly bodywork repairs. The more emboldened thief doesn’t even need the cover of darkness these days, either. There are countless stories of an installer popping out to the van whilst on a job, only to find their mobile office has been plundered, or worse, vanished altogether.

So how do we put a stop to it? Clearly, the answer is not easy. But there is plenty that installers can do, and are doing, to raise awareness and take the fight back to the thieves. Petitions, in particular, spring to mind. There have been a number of examples over recent years imploring the Government to respond and debate the issue, and the latest is the #NoVANber campaign.

Set up by Peter Booth (@pbplumber to those on Twitter), and supported by various industry figures, the campaign was started in November – hence the name – and at the time of writing is approaching 40,000 signatures. However, like all good petitions, it needs over 100,000 supporters to ensure the debate is taken to the politicians in Whitehall, where potential ideas for new legislation, additional sentencing guidelines or further regulations on the reselling of tools can be put to the floor.

For our part, you’ll find all the information on how to sign the petition on pages 32 and 33 of the January issue of PHPI. And, once you’ve finished reading, you’re more than welcome to pull the poster out and promote the campaign for yourself. So why not stick it up in your local merchant, behind the most popular beer at the local pub, or wherever else it may drum up support? It’s an issue that affects every tradesperson, after all.

On a final note,  I am delighted to have taken over as editor on PHPI, and am looking forward to immersing myself in such a dynamic, enthusiastic and professional industry. Having worked as an assistant on the magazine previously under my predecessor, Stuart Duff, I’ll look to continue his “good” work and ensure PHPI offers an enjoyable and informative read.

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