The ugly truth: how quickly someone can gain access to your van

Van Grille Pro

Vehicle crime is on the rise with work vans being a particularly attractive target to thieves due to the assumption valuable tools will be stored inside. The Installer released a recent article which highlights shocking statistics. Every 23 minutes, a van is broken into with an average tool theft claim costing around £1,692 per tradesperson. Even worse, 50% of victims have had their tools stolen multiple times, making this figure much higher.

Van break-ins are frustrating for tradespeople. Tool theft from vans wastes not just money, but also valuable time for businesses. If your van isn’t secure, it makes life easier for the burglar to steal tools. If your van has been targeted on multiple occasions, this can also increase levels of anxiety.

Criminals have two main methods of breaking into your vehicle, with the first being a relay attack. This consists of a criminal intercepting your van’s fob signal by using a relay box. The relay box will then transfer the signal to your vehicle’s own relay box, unlocking the vehicle and leaving it open for the criminals to take whatever they want. A criminal only needs to witness you unlocking your van once to gain access to your van, and once they are left alone, it only takes a couple of seconds to unlock your van.

The second method is the ‘Peel and Steal’, which is far less technical, requiring no tools or equipment at all. The criminal will grab a hold of the top of your van’s door and bend the door outwards through a combination of their bodyweight and pressing their knees against the door. The van’s door can then be peeled from the top ‘like a tin of sardines’. The criminal can then crawl through the opening where the top of the door used to be and enter the van. Unlike the relay method, this will damage the exterior of your van. This method takes longer than the relay method in execution, though it should still last less than ten seconds.

A criminal can also drill out a lock using a basic power drill. In some locks, like the euro profile cylinder, this may render the lock unusable in the future. Luckily, some locks are immune to this, such as those with anti-drill pins made of hardened steel that the drill bit can’t get past.

In many cases, all a criminal needs to do is smash a window to break into a van and gain access to anything valuable inside. For a skilled criminal, the entire process can take less than thirty seconds.

For vans without deadlocks, gaining access is even easier. By removing the casing around a keyhole, grabbing a pair of pliers, and twisting the mull grip twice, a criminal can gain full access to the back and side doors of your van in just two seconds.

It is our aim to extend this time and reduce the frequency of these crimes. To do so, we have partnered with DRS Garage Doors to manufacture high-quality security grilles for a new Van Grille Pro retractable security grille system that not only makes a break-in exponentially more difficult but also more unlikely, as the security system includes a warning label stating its presence. This deters would-be criminals from attempting to break into your van.

If you are interested in Van Grille Pro and would like more information, please contact 01724 709 722 or email


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