As we near the end of the Great British summer, NaVCIS Leisure Officer Tim Booth reveals the top tips for keeping caravans and motorhomes safe while in storage:
“The year-to-date level of thefts of caravans is down by almost 30 percent compared to the same period in 2020. Further comparison with 2019 data would also show that the levels of reporting are down, which is probably largely due to lockdown and restriction on movements.
“We have, however, seen an increase in the number of high-value, often newer, caravans being stolen, and a significant increase in the numbers of motor-caravan and motorhomes being stolen. A key point here is that the thefts predominantly take place within storage sites, including those that suggest to provide a ‘secure’ storage environment.
“We tend to see that once a site’s security is compromised, multiple thefts occur; often three of four caravans or motorhomes will be stolen in one go.
“With that in mind, I encourage all caravan and motorhome owners to be vigilant and to consider the following action when deciding where to store their leisure vehicle:
1. Visit the site first to find out how easy it is to get in:
“Speak to staff and check what information is required, such as proof of ownership and proof of your address. Speak to other site users about their experience of the site – recommendations and reviews are often helpful when deciding on the right location to store your prized possession.
2. Check the site location for local reports of crime:
“In particular, thefts of, and thefts from vehicles are key here: parts are often stolen from caravans while in storage.
3. Improve the physical security of your caravan or motorhome:
“Fit security devices and set alarms. If your alarm links to a tracking system, make sure the subscription is up-to-date.
4. Double check your insurance:
“Lastly, check with your insurer to ensure your policy covers your caravan/vehicle while in storage at a chosen site.”
NaVCIS is supporting police across the UK, Republic of Ireland and Europe in carrying out checks on suspect and/or stolen caravans and motorhomes. As a result of our partnership working with the police, there has been an increase in the number of caravans/vehicles recovered. Overall year-to-date recovery levels stand at 20 percent of reported thefts, which is an increase from 2020 (15 percent) and 2019 (9 percent).
Tim has some further advice for anyone looking to buy a leisure vehicle:
“The leisure market is currently very popular and with this interest, we have seen an increase in criminality, especially with the number of cloned motorhomes. This year, I have so far examined five cloned motorhomes in as many months. To put this into context, in my previous 13 years at NaVCIS I have personally only had to examine one.
“The recovery of cloned motorhomes, which are often high in value, highlights a concern as many of these vehicles will have a genuine V5 document presented by the vendor, which the consumer considers as provenance for the vehicle.
“When making a purchase, consider making further enquiries with the vendor to confirm that the vehicle you are investing in is genuine.
“Ask them about the vehicle, their experiences with it, even photos of them using it. This can all help assure buyers that they’re buying from a legitimate owner.
“If you are buying a caravan, consider carrying out a CRiS check: https://www.cris.co.uk/cris-check/. For a small fee, the check will provide you with a genuine history of the caravan. It’s important to do this yourself though, rather than accepting paperwork from the vendor, to ensure the history is authentic.”