Lancashire Police said they are investigating an increasing number of reports of caravans stolen from driveways and storage sites in the borough.
Ruth Entwistle, whose caravan was one of several stolen from a storage facility in Coppull on Wednesday night (July 7), has warned others about the lengths thieves will go to in order to steal desirable models.
She said: "It sounds like they knew what they were doing. They’ve gone through fencing, cut down hedges, cut the hitch lock off, cut the wheel lock off and broke in and cut the tracker out.
"They’ve stolen three others (attempted seven), a tractor and the farmers' car too.
"They then took the vans over fields for about a mile or so before getting away by road."
Last weekend, a caravan storage site in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, was also targeted.
A number of caravans were taken over fields and onto the A628 towards Woodhead Pass, where one caravan overturned and hit a stone wall as it was being towed away by thieves (pictured).
In response to the alarming number of reports in the Chorley area, police have today urged owners to stay vigilant and ensure their caravans are well secured.
A spokesman for the force said: "Caravan Thefts. West Lancashire, Chorley and the surrounding areas are being targeted currently.
"Please secure your property, keep and update records of vin numbers/ CRIS numbers and activate trackers.
"Rural taskforce are working closely with Tac ops, your local NPT'S and neighbouring forces. If you see suspicious activity report it!"
How to keep your caravan secure
Police have issued the following advice to help keep your caravan secure and deter thieves:
When your caravan is not in use
- Remove all your personal belongings and contents when you are not using your caravan. Leave cupboard doors and curtains open, this may help to deter opportunist thieves if they can see it’s empty.
- Store your caravan securely. If you are choosing a storage site, don’t just look at the price. Check to see that it offers good security measures.
- If you are leaving your caravan at home, ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your caravan as well as your home. Consider fixing good security posts on your drive to prevent your caravan being stolen.
Store your caravan securely
- Choose a site operated by the Caravan Storage site Owners Association (CaSSOA)
- Check to see if it offers good security measures for example secure posts to which your caravan can be hitch-locked, ground anchors, security staff or CCTV.
- Remember if you can enter the storage area and remove your caravan without being approached, then so can a thief.
Devices for securing your caravan
- Locking the coupling head into a cover using a good quality hitch lock.
- Using locking wheel nuts and a good quality clamp on the caravan wheels.
- Chaining your caravan to a robust and secure point. Use a heavy duty chain that is made out of hardened steel to reduce the chance of it being cut through.
- Installing a reliable alarm system (GSM)and tracking device.
Protect your caravan and belongings
- Ensure you close and lock your doors, windows and roof lights when you leave your caravan.
- Don’t leave anything valuable on display, laptops etc.
- Consider security marking any valuables.
- Never leave Caravan Registration and identification documents (CRis) in your caravan.
Buying a caravan
- Check that the chassis number hasn’t been removed or altered.
- Before buying privately, consider checking the caravans history on CRiS.
- Check all the keys are available and correct.
- Check the number plate is the same as the one on the tow vehicle. Be wary if temporary or handwritten number plates are used.
- Always ask about built in security features such as an alarm or tracking device, caravan safe, hitch-lock or wheel clamps.
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