Midlands is Caravan Bermuda Triangle

Bandits pinch 4,000 caravans a year

11 June 2008

Empty spaces on driveways and disappearances from storage sites are common across the UK with around 4,0001 British caravans vanishing every year according to data from AA Caravan Insurance.

a car towing a caravan At a time when caravanners are dusting off their 'vans for the summer, owners in the Midlands should be most vigilant with more disappearances in the 'Caravan Bermuda Triangle' than anywhere else in Britain.

"We believe ten per cent2 more caravans vanish in an area bordered by Leicester, Coventry, Birmingham and Nottingham," says Simon Douglas, head of AA Caravan Insurance. "The triangle of trouble is drawn along the popular motorway network of the M6, M42 and M1 which provide quick getaway routes for thieves," says Simon Douglas.

He adds: "Caravanning is increasing in popularity and we're seeing more caravans being stolen to order, especially larger, luxury twin-axle models. Three-quarters of those stolen disappear without trace and are never recovered."

Increasingly, disappearances are down to organised caravan theft rackets with specific, high-value caravans that will fetch a good price being targeted. A common tactic is stealing direct from driveways when the owners are enjoying a last cup of tea. "Thieves look for opportunities when caravans are unattended but not secured – for instance with a wheelclamp – and that could be anywhere, including motorway service areas."

AA Insurance has also found a steady rise in caravan disappearances from storage sites revealing that these are premeditated crimes.

Simon Douglas points out: "These disappearances are well thought out criminal plans with real rewards. There is a real trend towards particular models being targeted and sometimes, several vans may disappear from one site. They are even craned out and on to a lorry for a quick getaway."

Security Measures

Owners can help and get premium reductions by taking security measures that include:

  • Wheel clamps – these are the minimum insurance requirement and should be used whenever the caravan is unattended – modern clamps are easy to apply but very difficult for thieves to remove.
  • Chassis locks – increasingly supplied as standard, these lock the wheels in a fixed position
  • Hitch locks – some come with an alarm while corner steady locks will prevent the front of the van from being lifted on to a thief's vehicle.
  • If you have a high-value caravan your insurer may insist on an electronic tag or tracking device being fitted – in any case, such protection will attract insurance discounts.
  • Make sure that out of season, your caravan is safe. Choose a site operated by the Caravan Storage Site Owners' Association (CaSSOA); check that security is good (for example, secure posts to which your caravan can be hitch-locked, ground anchors, security staff or cctv).

Notes to editors

1Data from The Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme

2Data from AA Caravan Insurance claims experience

More about car crime and vehicle security »

 

11 June 2008