Each year, too many caravans are stolen across the UK, typically from right under the owner’s nose on their property, or often disappearing from a commercial storage site.
Statistically, if your caravan is between two and three years old, it’s more likely than any other sort of model to be taken. And, all too often, thieves remove all the identifying marks from a unit, so that even if police manage to recover the caravan, the owner never gets it back.
But the good news is that there is a lot you can do to protect your investment and take the necessary precautions against theft, with an increasing range of ever more sophisticated caravan security devices.
• Caravan Hitchlocks.
These will act as a deterrent to opportunist thieves, and can help protect against roadside and on-site theft, as well as against thieves who operate at service stations. When your caravan is being stored or is at home, however, you will need something else. Choose a hitchlock which covers all of the hitchhead, as well as the securing bolts, for the best security. Sold Secure standards will mean you are getting the best quality, so look for products sold as meeting this standard, too.
• Caravan Alarms.
There are all sorts of alarms on the market today, and prices can be extremely varied. Look for a quality tested, Sold Secure product if you wish, but do check websites first, since only a small number of manufacturers make alarms which meet this status.
• Caravan Wheel locks.
These work in a similar fashion to wheel clamps, although the device additionally fixes through the wheel, as well as into the brake assembly. These things have the snag of being rather tricky to fit, and so are not really ideal for shorter stops, although they are highly effective as security devices. Different versions are made for different sorts of caravan.
• Caravan Wheel Clamps.
Again, these are not the best if you’re not making a long stop, but you’ll find these products widely available. Look for a model which a drill or hacksaw won’t easily cut through, and also be aware that a thief may deflate the tyres of your caravan while trying to break through this kind of security product.
• Caravan Tracking Systems.
These assist in locating caravans which have been stolen – their whereabouts can be traced thanks to radio signals or satellite technology. Again, there’s a wide choice of these products around. Just be aware that some systems designed specifically for motor vehicles may not be able to be used with caravans.
The snag with these is that they can be expensive to fit, and you may need to make a yearly payment if you buy a monitored system. Equally, bear in mind that not every insurer will discount your premium just because you install one of these systems.
• Caravan Hitch Posts.
These can be very handy for when you have your unit at home. A post is concreted in the ground, and the caravan ballhead can be fitted in to place with a hitchlock.
CRiS, or the Caravan Registration & Identification Scheme, applies to all NCC-made models since 1992, and involves having a 17-digit ID number on the chassis, and the CRiS database. In 1999, the scheme was extended to cover caravans made prior to 1992, and privately imported models.
The Silent Tracer marking system also offered by CRiS deters fraud by cloning by giving every caravan its own identity.
All of this means stolen caravans are much more easily recovered, and thieves will find it much harder to sell on units which have been illegally taken.
Other things you can do
Security tagging of electrical and other expensive items will help police identify goods which have been stolen from a caravan if found.
Finally, marking your caravan’s roof with at least some of the CRiS number in stick-on letters will help the unit to be more easily detected by roadside cameras if it is stolen.
Equally, photograph your unit inside and out to give police if you become a victim of theft.