We have put together a list of safety / anti-theft advice for your caravan or motorhome :
- If possible park the caravan inside a building away from prying eyes of the caravan thieves. Then if possible alarm the building.
- If you are choosing a storage site don't just look at the price, check to see if it offers good security. See the Caravan Storage Association www.cassoa.co.uk
- If the caravan is parked on your drive, it can be covered with a light movement sensor that gives an audible chime inside the house when someone is around the caravan. It works during the daytime even though the light does not illuminate.
- Fit metal security posts cemented into the ground in front of the caravan.
- Fit substantial gates or a security post to your driveway.
Technological Security Devices
- Dependant on the cost of the caravan a 'Tracker' type device or other competitive GPS tracking system should be installed to locate the exact position of the caravan should it be stolen.
- Fit an alarm system to the caravan that uses the 12-volt battery to alarm entry into the caravan, and can also be fitted with a tilt or vibration sensor to detect it being towed away. Solar panels can be used to maintain the 12-volt battery power.
- Alternatively there are stand-alone alarm systems that will alert the owner via a mobile telephone that the alarm has been activated.
- Security mark the caravan, since 1992 the National Caravan Council (NCC) recognised manufacturers have stamped the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the vehicle chassis. This 17-digit number has also been etched into the windows. Check your caravan and if it is not marked in this way, get it done.
- Companies can provide specialist identifiable marking products for individual caravans which enables police to trace owners. See the VIN Chip System www.cris.co.uk/vin-chip
- Roof identification of large letters or numbers can assist air support to track the caravan.
- Mark valuables and interior fitments inside your caravan with your postcode using a special etching tool or engraver. If you use a security marker pen, the writing will only show up under ultra violet light and may fade with time. Keep a note of these numbers at home, along with a photo of your caravan. This will help the police identify and return a stolen caravan or goods.
- See the CRiS Central Registration Scheme www.cris.co.uk/ and VIN Chip System www.cris.co.uk/vin-chip/
Physical Security Devices
Wheel clamps can be used as deterrent, but ensure that the clamp wraps around the wheel sufficiently not to allow the tyre to be deflated, the clamp taken off and the tyre re-inflated. Use lock-nuts on the caravan wheels.
- Jack up the caravan and place onto axle stands or similar. Take the wheel off and put 3 locking wheel nuts back onto the wheel studs. This will prevent thieves placing a wheel back onto the axle and towing it away, unless they take off the wheel hub itself and replace it with a similar one.
- Secure each corner leg with a padlock. Make sure it has a short shackle to prevent thieves from cutting through it. If you use a chain, make sure it is a strong one. Thieves can easily get hold of the right tools to cut through a weaker chain.
- Lock the coupling head/hitch into a cover with a hitchlock.
- Gas cylinders make an inviting target to a thief. Padlock them to fixing clamps on older caravans so they can't be removed and keep gas compartments locked on newer models.
- Fit a special caravan deadlock to the door, and make sure you use it, then thieves cannot just smash a window and turn a door handle.
- All security devices should conform to 'Sold Secure' Standards, which means they have been extensively tested to reduce the risk of loss due to crime. Sold Secure web site: www.soldsecure.com *
- Remove all valuables from the caravan.
- Do not leave vehicle registration documents in the caravan. They can help a thief to sell the caravan on.
- Always close and lock doors and windows when you leave your caravan - even if it is just for a short time. Thieves do not need long to go through a caravan, and their job is made simpler if they can get in easily.
- Fit a time switch if you're out after dark, lights on in your caravan will make it look occupied and can deter opportunist thieves.
- Photographs of the interior and of identifying marks may be useful for later identification
- If you are a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, your touring caravan will be automatically logged on the Club's Security Register. This enables the club to liaise with the police and dealers rapidly should a theft occur. It also helps authentic ownership if your caravan is stolen then recovered. The club keeps a register of all caravans reported stolen, even those of non-members. This register is widely used by police throughout the UK. You can write to the Caravan and Motorhome Club at East Grinstead House, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 1UA. Tel. (01342) 326944. Caravan Club Website : www.caravanclub.co.uk *
Get to know your neighbours on the site when you are on holiday and think about joining a vehicle watch scheme at home. Keep an eye on each other's caravans, and get to know who belongs on the site. Do not be afraid to report anything suspicious to either the site manager or the police.
Purchasing a Caravan
If you are buying a new caravan, ask about built-in security features. All caravans manufactured since August 1997 should be electronically tagged for added security.
If you are buying a second-hand caravan, try to verify the seller's identity and make sure the number plate on the caravan matches the one on the tow car. Also ask if it is registered with the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme (CriS) www.cris.co.uk/ - if it is, you can check its history through this scheme. If it isn't, call 01722 411 430 and get it registered or go to www.cris.co.uk/registration/.
Consider the following:
- Is the seller insisting on meeting you away from home, possibly to avoid being identified or traced? If so, why?
- Can the seller provide proof of identity and address?
- Check that all the caravan keys are available and correct.
- Check that the number-plate is the same on the caravan and the tow car. Be wary if temporary or hand-written number-plates are being used.
- Ask about security devices that may have been fitted by the seller.
- Ask the seller whether the caravan is registered with CRIS. If it is, ask the seller to fill in the notification of sale section on the back of the touring Caravan Registration Document and send it to CRIS. The seller should give you the rest of the document for you to fill in the Notification of Changes with the appropriate registration fee.
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