Harpenden couple launch app to help recover stolen tools

PUBLISHED: 11:59 12 January 2020

ToolWatch App receiving its BSI accreditation. From left to right: Denise Brett from ToolWatch, Guy Ferguson, chief executive of Police Crime Prevention Initiatives/Secured By Design, app co-founders Alan Brett and Christ Tattum, and Anne Scorey, BSI managing director for UK and Ireland. Picture: Wagada

ToolWatch App receiving its BSI accreditation. From left to right: Denise Brett from ToolWatch, Guy Ferguson, chief executive of Police Crime Prevention Initiatives/Secured By Design, app co-founders Alan Brett and Christ Tattum, and Anne Scorey, BSI managing director for UK and Ireland. Picture: Wagada

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A Harpenden couple have launched an app to help police trace stolen builders’ tools after becoming the victims of theft.

ToolWatch App, which was founded by Harpenden couple Alan and Denise Brett. Picture: WagadaToolWatch App, which was founded by Harpenden couple Alan and Denise Brett. Picture: Wagada

Alan and Denise Brett co-founded ToolWatch App with app builder Chris Tattum, after Alan - who runs his own building business - had £8,000 worth of tools stolen from one of his vans in 2017.

As he was unable to prove which van the tools were in, Alan's insurance company refused to pay out - meaning he had to cover the cost himself and there was no way of recovering the tools or identifying the owner.

The app allows tradespeople to register their tools by serial number on their own private profiles, and police can use a separate interface to check if a tool has been stolen, view the owner's details and inform the owner that their property has been recovered.

Alan Brett, co-founder of the ToolWatch App, said: "For construction workers, the ToolWatch App gives them the reassurance and security that if their tools are stolen and found by the police, they will get them back.

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"But the ToolWatch App will also be effective for all business and industries with equipment that is liable to be stolen - so it has huge potential in the fight against crime."

The app also enables tradespeople who are buying second-hand tools to check whether they have been stolen.

ToolWatch is one of the first apps to receive the British Standards Institutes's Secure Digital Applications Kitemark - meaning it can be trusted by tradespeople, businesses and police to protect users' data. Alan plans to make the app available to schools, colleges, health authorities and emergency services for free to allow them to safeguard their equipment.

Alan's wife Denise said: "It became apparent to us that there was a real problem here because tools are stolen and the police do find them, but how do they know in a batch of tools who they belong to?
"The police have a secure site on the app where they can check serial numbers, and as a subscriber you can click all the tools that are missing if you are broken into.

"It does it all for you so you don't have to ring the police, and it's much quicker for the police as well."

To find out more go to www.toolwatchapp.com.

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