New tool register app makes stolen tools “too hot to handle”

The Tool Register copy

A South Oxfordshire company is making it tough for thieves intent on stealing tools by launching a new smartphone app to make stolen tools “too hot to handle”

uWatch Ltd, based in Cholsey, South Oxfordshire has launched its new app called The Tool Register, on android and iOS. The app makes it very difficult to re-sell stolen tools. This is called “the market reduction approach” and is the best solution to reduce theft in the long term.

Tool theft costs tradespeople £100 million a year and ruins livelihoods. This crime is on the increase year to year which is evident by increased insurance claims.

uWatch Ltd have met with over 30 police constabularies across the UK and tool theft is always highlighted as a serious issue. However, there was no system in place which empowers tradesmen to securely register their tools and also identify stolen ones.

The market reduction approach reduces crime by reducing the opportunity for thieves to resell what they have stolen. If you can’t sell the tool you have stolen, why would you steal another one?

The app allows tradespeople to record pictures and details of their tools and receipts on a secure cloud server which holds the “ISO27001” certificate.

This list of tools can be downloaded as a PDF and sent to the police and insurance companies

Users can quickly report tools as stolen or lost from the app. This sends an instant alert to all other local registered users, warning them a theft has just happened. This allows them to make sure their tools are secure and to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. After tools are reported stolen, they appear on “Dodgy Gear”

Dodgy gear is a search engine for stolen goods which can be freely accessed by any member of the public or police.

Before purchasing an item (online or at a market) you can very simply check on dodgy gear to make sure the item you are about to buy is not listed as stolen. You can search for the tool by serial number, model number, brand, tool type and description.

If the tool you are looking at is displayed on dodgy gear you can do three things:

  •   Take picture of vendor or URL
  •   Share the tool picture and information
  •   Directly contact the original owner through the appThe original owner will get an alert on their app, informing them that their tool has been found and the repatriation process can begin.

    This is a huge deterrent to thieves, knowing that anyone can very easily use an app to check what they are selling is legitimate. By definition, if every tool was registered on this system today, then any tool that is now stolen could be identified by any member of the public which is a huge risk to the thief.

    Louis Bennett, Product Manager at uWatch, said: “The Tool Register will lead to a long-term decline in the theft of tools. The only requirement is that lots of people sign up nationally and therefore everyone is not only reporting tool theft but helping to identify stolen ones and most importantly getting them back to the original owner.”