Trades United is organising a van rally in Westminster (Parliament Square) to bring attention to the widespread issue of tool theft and the resale of stolen goods.

Starting from Brent Cross, tradespeople from across the UK will descend upon Parliament Square to demand stricter enforcement of existing laws and greater accountability for venues that facilitate the resale of stolen tools at car boot sales and markets. Tradesmen and women will captivate London with a van rally, urging the government to address the inadequate enforcement of laws that jeopardise thousands of livelihoods across the UK.

The event is set for Monday 3rd June 2024, beginning at 11:00 AM, arriving to Parliament Square at 11:45-12:00 where tradespeople and their supporters will mobilise to Westminster to sound the alarm on the escalating tool theft and van break-in crisis. In Westminster, the trades will gather for a “go slow” convoy demonstration driving around the area for 2 hours. The goal is to highlight the need for stringent measures to deter the sale of stolen tools.

Trades United call upon the government to impose a £10,000 fine on event organisers of car boot sales and markets that permit the resale of stolen tools. By reducing the opportunities for thieves to offload stolen goods, Trades United and its supporters believe the frequency of vehicle break-ins and thefts will decrease significantly. The Theft Act 1986, which addresses the handling of stolen goods, is currently underenforced. The Act stipulates:

  • A person handles stolen goods if, knowing or believing them to be stolen, they dishonestly receive, remove, retain, dispose of, or assist in the realisation of the goods for another’s benefit.
  • A person found handling stolen goods can face up to 14 years imprisonment upon conviction


Despite these provisions, enforcement is lacking, with crime reference numbers issued without thorough investigation into the crimes or the locations where stolen goods are resold. For the past 6 years the government has shown no urgency in tackling tool theft as over 44,500 incidents have been reported this is the equivalent of a trade’s person losing their livelihood every 12 minutes. The impact of tool theft is not just a financial loss but also has a huge mental health impact on those affected by this crime.

Trades United seeks to hold the government accountable and ensure the laws designed to protect tradespeople are effectively enforced. Shoaib Awan launched a petition (#659019) for the current Government to address this issue with campaign group Trades United, since the announcement of dissolution of Parliament (30th May 2024) this will automatically be closed. The current petition reached over 46,000 signatures. However, he still urges everyone to support the cause in a bid to get their voices heard and issues addressed by future MP’s and their parties.


Founder of campaign group Trades United Shoaib Awan, said:

“On the 3rd June 2024 I will bring tradespeople across the country together at Parliament square, for the Government to see the distress these thieves and boot sales have caused to their livelihoods. Tool theft numbers are rising year on year and not enough from the Government has been done to protect the trades. A crime reference number is no longer acceptable. What are we heading towards a Wild West? This lawlessness needs to come to an end. We don’t want policies that don’t work we need strict enforcement and a crackdown operation with IMMEDIATE EFFECT. As tax paying and law-abiding citizens, we deserve better!

It’s distressing how widespread tool theft has become, impacting not only livelihoods but also mental well-being and family stability. The lack of effective intervention from law enforcement only exacerbates the problem. Businesses suffer not only from the loss of tools but also from the subsequent financial burdens such as increased insurance costs and repairs. It’s essential for communities, policymakers, and law enforcement agencies to work together to address this epidemic and provide support for those affected.

The use of car boot sales to sell stolen tools highlights the need for tighter regulations and enforcement to prevent the sale of stolen goods. This not only perpetuates the cycle of theft but also makes it challenging for victims to recover their belongings. Authorities should consider implementing measures to crack down on the sale of stolen goods at such venues to deter thieves and protect consumers”.