A Bailey Unicorn ‘Seville’ caravan worth £15,000, was stolen by thieves but recovered on the same day, thanks to the teamwork of stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) expert Tracker, Warwickshire police and VIN CHIP. The stolen caravan, which was safeguarded by Tracker technology, was quickly located by police alongside five other stolen caravans and two valuable trailers. The value of all vehicles successfully recovered is estimated to be in excess of £150,000.
PC Craig Purcell, one of the officers in the Warwickshire Rural Crime team responsible for recovering the vehicles, commented: “Tracker alerted us to the stolen caravan, which had been stolen from a secure storage compound in Derbyshire, but was heading into the Warwickshire Police area. Using the information Tracker provided, our officers and Police Dog Unit were able to quickly locate the caravan in Hartshill, North Warwickshire. When I arrived on the scene with my colleagues, we were able to identify seven other stolen vehicles (five caravans and two trailers) by using the VIN CHIP identification system RFID tags within the units that link to the national database of caravan keepers. One of the caravans was literally reported stolen at the time we were examining it. The vehicles had been stolen from across a wide area, including Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Leicestershire and the Thames Valley. A multi-force investigation is ongoing, and suspects have been identified.”
Caravans are a popular choice for organised crime groups who often steal to order, to meet demand in the UK and across Europe, selling the caravans for huge profits. Last year Tracker recovered over £1 million worth of stolen caravans and motorhomes. Storing a caravan at a secure site is not always enough to prevent theft, but having a Tracker and VIN CHIP Identification System installed will significantly increase the chance of owners being reunited with their invaluable second home.
Clive Wain, Police Liaison for Tracker, commented: “When the caravan was reported stolen, we quickly activated the Tracker unit, which enabled our control room to follow the vehicle remotely whilst keeping the relevant local police forces informed of its location. It is always hugely satisfying to reunite an owner with their stolen vehicle, but this operation was even more rewarding thanks to the other vehicles recovered from the same site. Without this one caravan having a Tracker installed, the owners of the other caravans and trailers would have probably not seen their vehicles again.
“Caravans are extremely lucrative for criminals and can be relatively easy to steal if they are not properly protected. Caravans are more than just a vehicle they are a home away from home and as a result hold enormous sentimental value on top of their financial worth. As such, owners must take extra precautions to protect their caravans from theft, and to increase the likelihood of their safe return if they are stolen. Physical deterrents such as secure storage facilities, hitch locks, wheel clamps, alarm systems and deadbolts will reduce the chance of theft, but only a tracking device and VIN CHIP Identification System will improve the chance of recovery if criminals get past these barriers,” concludes Wain.
Tracker's Caravan Security Tips
- Fit security posts or a substantial gate if parking the caravan on your drive.
- Be sure to security mark the caravan.
- Mark valuables and interior fitments inside the caravan with your postcode using an etching tool or engraver.
- Fit physical deterrents such as hitch locks, wheel clamps and deadlocks on doors to make it difficult for thieves.
- Remove all valuables from the caravan.
- Do not leave registration documents in the caravan as they can help thieves sell it on.
- Always close and lock doors and windows when you leave your caravan, even if it’s just for a short time.
- When planning for the next storage season, choose a site with good security rather than just a good price.
- Fit a Tracker device to increase the chance of recovery in the event of theft.
- Retro fit a unique Identification System to your caravan, if VIN CHIP did not come as standard on your caravan