Caravan theft

The Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS)

Around 15% of all car crimes occur in car parks

Around 15% of all car crimes occur in car parks

You can reduce the risk of losing your caravan to thieves by making sure it is registered and marked as well as by using additional mechanical security devices. It's important to choose your winter storage site carefully too.

Around 4000 caravans a year are stolen from driveways, storage sites, and even from behind cars parked at service areas and rest stops.

Thefts are increasingly down to organised gangs targeting high value caravans.

Thieves look for opportunities when caravans are unattended but not secured – for instance with a wheel clamp – and that could be anywhere, including motorway service areas or on your own drive while you're getting ready to leave.

Registration document

Road going powered vehicles like cars, bikes and lorries are required by law to be registered with the DVLA. The registered keeper holds a vehicle registration document (V5C) showing keeper and vehicle details which include the engine and chassis (VIN) numbers which must be marked on the vehicle too.

As vehicles are bought and sold the buyer and seller must notify DVLA who in turn update the official record and issue a new V5C to the new keeper.

There is no such legal requirement for Caravans and, while this means you don't have to worry about DVLA paperwork at the point of purchase, it does introduce other issues that can affect the future security of your caravan.

'CRiS'

The Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS) was established by The National Caravan Council in 1992 and is administered by HPI.

All new UK caravans are registered with CRiS by the manufacturer and if the caravan is later stolen, CRiS will enable the police to identify and recover it. You may need to prove that you own the caravan before it can be returned to you.

This CRiS service comprises three parts:

  • CRiS VIN marking and database – VIN stamping (a unique 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number) is applied at point of manufacture by all UK-based caravan manufacturers. A covert electronic identity tag that can be 'read' by the police is fitted to the caravan at the same time. The unique VIN is recorded on a central database and can be used to identify the caravan throughout its life.
  • CRiS Keeper Registration – The VIN and the caravan description are recorded on a Touring Caravan Registration Document, which is sent to the caravan's registered keeper. At each change of ownership, the seller and buyer are encouraged to contact the CRiS team to confirm the transfer of the caravan. The Touring Caravan Registration Document issued to the current keeper should be used to notify CRiS of any keeper change.
  • CRiS Check – prior to purchase, a prospective buyer can check the history of the caravan to find out if it is stolen, written-off or still on finance.

Many caravan insurers insist that the caravan is registered with CRiS before they will provide cover.

Caravan security advice

Besides making sure that your caravan is registered with CRiS, you can reduce theft risk, and may get an insurance premium discount 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.
  • Make sure that your caravan is safe out of season too. 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).

(updated 4 May 2012)