How to tell if a caravan has been stolen

Think you’ve suffered a few holiday nightmares in your time? Well just imagine looking forward to a caravan holiday all year only to finally make it on to the road and find you are pulled over by a police officer and told the caravan is stolen.

It’s a risk for anyone buying caravans in Northern Ireland: but there are a few checks you can carry out that will help to indicate if the caravan is stolen. Here are some tips.

Is there damage?

Unfortunately there are no alarms that will go off and highlight any tell-tale signs of theft: but there are some obvious marks to look for. As an example, look for damage around the hitch or on the tyres and wheel rims as this could indicate that a security device has been removed forcibly.

Check for receipts

Just as if you were buying used cars in Northern Ireland you’d look for a vehicle history, make sure when you buy caravans in Northern Ireland you see receipts and documents relating to ownership and the caravan’s service history. Be cautious of twin-axle caravans that are being sold on the cheap: they tend to be favourites with caravan thieves.

Think about the location

Be suspicious if you are not invited to the seller’s home or premises to view the caravan: especially if it is not being kept in an authorised compound. Another sign that something isn’t quite right is if the seller is reluctant to arrange a convenient time to meet and show you the caravan.

Take advantage of the services that are there to help

There are services that can help you check a caravan’s status before you make a purchase.

The first is the CRis Enquiry Service. It can identify a caravan that has been reported as stolen and can examine the age of newer models and whether there are any outstanding payments on caravans that date back to 1992.

You should check that the details of the caravan that have been given to you by the seller match those on the CRis registration document. Any caravans that have been built after 1992 and don’t have a CRis identification are certainly worthy of suspicion: and with caravans dating back further you should just be extra careful in ensuring the seller is providing you with extensive evidence.

Theftcheck is another large computerised caravan register that has been set up by the Caravan Club. It was launched in 1988 and has helped with the recovery of numerous caravans.

All you have to do is call the Theftcheck Service with the make, model, serial number and year and it will run the details through the database to see if there is a match. Of course this doesn’t mean that if the caravan is not on the list it is definitely not stolen: but it’s certainly massively reassuring.

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