Caravanning Resource Centre

* A touring caravan has a chassis with either one or two axles and is designed for recreational living. It is traditionally built on a wooden frame with an aluminium shell. Although caravans are still built this way, there is more use of moulded fibreglass and plastics in addition to the aluminium panels. There are also some manufacturers who use fibreglass and plastic panels to the exclusion of aluminium.

There are hundreds of security devices on the market and some are better than others. None will make your caravan totally thief-proof, but they will make most thieves think twice about stealing your 'van. Buy the best security you can afford and make sure the thief knows the device is fitted. Stickers are usually supplied with security items - so use them!

Hitch Locks

Hitch locks provide a reasonable degree of protection from the opportunist thief. Get one that is manufactured from heavy steel to cover the tow socket fixing bolts and has a good lock.

Some hitch locks can lock the caravan to the car but make sure it is unlocked when you are actually towing - use them only on site or if you leave the caravan unattended. They don't generally offer sufficient security for when the caravan is in storage, but they will make things much harder for a thief.

Wheel Clamps

There are many different kinds of wheel clamps on the market, but remember, generally speaking the easier they are to put on the easier they are for a thief to take off.

Buy a good clamp and check that it correctly fits your caravan's wheel - if they don't fit correctly, a thief can remove the wheel and the clamp with it.

Wheel Stands

If you think that wheel stands are the only way to keep hold of your 'van, think again - a determined thief will come prepared with a set of wheels. But wheel stands can be a deterrent; if you make sure they are locked in place.

Check your handbook as some chassis manufacturers recommend axle stands for winter storage.

Make sure you check with your insurers that they are happy to let you keep your caravan on wheel stands, as some insurance policies call for the van to be fitted with a wheel clamp at all times.

Security Posts

These are particularly useful for those who keep their caravan on the drive at home. They are cemented into the drive and physically block movement of the caravan. Some can be fitted with a towbar on top of the post so that the caravan can be fixed with a hitch lock. Others are detachable or can fold down so that the caravan can be manoeuvred into position.

Make Crime Pay

If you have any information concerning caravan theft or disposal of stolen caravans contact the confidential free phone Crimestoppers Line on 0800 555111. You can stay anonymous and you may be entitled to an reward.

Leaving your caravan

Storage sites are particularly popular with thieves - there are lots of caravans to choose from and often plenty of undisturbed time in which to work.

Thieves don't care if you are on holiday - they'll steal caravans from lay-bys, motorway service stations and picnic sites. Even if you're just stopping for a cup of tea or to stretch your legs, make sure your caravan is secured.

Parking in your driveway or garden is no guarantee against theft either, so stay alert.

Selling Your Caravan

If you're selling a caravan, never part with your caravan until the cheque has cleared. This includes building society cheques and bank drafts - they could be stolen or forged, leaving you without a caravan or money.

Buying a Caravan

If you are buying a caravan, always meet at the seller's house. If they insist they meet you in another location, such as a car park or your house, be suspicious. Make sure that the house they claim to live in is actually theirs - sellers have been known to use the driveway of an empty house.

If the caravan is CRIS registered (see our "CRIS and Caravan Security" page) call CRIS as they will have records of the owner as well as records of scrapping, theft or if it is subject to outstanding finance.

Check the caravan's chassis number for signs of tampering. If it has been removed or altered, contact the police.

If the seller asks you to ring only at certain times, be wary. They may be using a public call box to cover their tracks - dial 100 and ask the operator to check for you

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