As part of its Park Smart appeal, Gardaí are appealing to caravan and campervan owners to take additional security measures given that 13 caravans have been stolen across the State since March. Over the past four years, items worth in excess of a combined total of €30 million have been stolen from camping vehicles with 43 thefts of caravans and campervans recorded since the start of 2019.
“With ‘staycations’ expected to rise this year, and more people using caravans and campervans, there is a need to be extra vigilant with their security,” said Garda Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Ber Leech.
“As a campervan owner myself, I always make sure we have the hitch lock on when we are parked up for the evening or when it’s not in use. We have also invested in a tracking device, they can be purchased for around €150, so if our campervan was ever stolen there is a better chance of getting it back.”
The most recent theft occurred earlier this month when a caravan worth around €4,000 was stolen from a yard. “The owner had no record of any serial number or chassis number or image of the caravan, which can make it very hard for An Garda Síochána to recover,” said a Garda spokesperson. “Thankfully in this instance, Gardaí were able to recover the caravan which has since been returned to the owner.”
The value of some of the caravans and campervans that have been stolen range from €1,000 to €30,000.
Said Sgt Leech: “A caravan or campervan can be a very expensive, and the items you have inside them could be irreplaceable if they hold a sentimental value. I would recommend that you keep valuables out of sight and make sure everything is locked when you go out. Criminals are opportunistic so whilst you may think that its fine whilst you pop out for half an hour, you never know. Don’t give them the opportunity by not securing it. Please make sure you park smart and lock up your caravan or campervan no matter where you are. If something is stolen from you, not matter what it is, call the Gardaí immediately.”
With this in mind, Gardaí have issued the following crime prevention advice:
* Ensure a good quality hitch lock and wheel clamps are in place and that the caravan is locked to a secure point
* Get an alarm fitted if one is not already in place
* Keep valuables out of sight and remove when not in use
* Ensure windows and doors are locked
* Park in a well-lit area. Keep a light on if leaving unattended overnight
* Use a cover when not in use. This may deter thieves as pulling off a cover can be noisy and add to the time taken to steal the caravan
* Keep good records of all serial numbers, unique markings, image of the caravan/campervan, etc
* Keep documents secure and
* Consider voluntarily registering your caravan with the Central Registration and Identification Scheme
Breakdown of caravan/camper thefts (January 1 2019 – July 10 2020)
Laois Offaly: 4
DMR (Dublin) North: 3
Cork City: 2