This week I was sorely tempted to respond to more letters about driving licences, but this has been covered ad nauseum and my sources are original such as Trafico so should be accurate; people will believe what they want to believe. It has further been suggested that there is no need to register a UK vehicle in Spain as certain people have been lucky enough to get away without doing this for years despite having their papers scrutinised by the police. The fact that people get away without registering is pure luck. Suggesting that it is OK is akin to giving succour to tax dodgers or benefit scroungers; the fact that it happens and people are not caught does not make it legal. Rant over!!

Vehicle tracking devices

Last week a customer who is away from Spain had a call from a company to advise that the tracking device in their caravan had been activated. After several frantic phone calls the Guardia were advised and the caravan located with assistance from the tracking company. It is interesting to note that thieves are aware of such devices, so will steal a vehicle and leave it in temporary situ for a few days to see if it is recovered; if not they return. On this occasion, the Guardia are being proactive and surveying the caravan in order to catch them when they turn up

This is probably the greatest advert for tracking devices which are well hidden and trigger an alarm when the vehicle is moved. When moved legitimately the driver either advises the company beforehand or awaits a call to give a code indicating that all is well

What other steps can be taken regarding caravan theft?

Well we have to bear in mind that determined thieves will always succeed if they have the required tools and equipment so we have to do what is necessary to prevent the theft in the first place. It is widely accepted that thieves seek soft targets so it is best to ensure that your vehicle is harder to nick than your neighbours; selfish? Not really, just self preservation.

Wheel clamps are commonly used, so why not fit two to make it doubly hard? Hitch clamps are a must as in most cases a caravan is towed away during theft. Can the van be chained to a nearby tree or similar fixed object? Asking neighbours to keep an eye out may also help; nosy parkers do have their benefits too! It goes without saying that a tracking device is essential. Most modern caravans have windows etched with the chassis number making them a less attractive target, so consider this low cost deterrent if yours are not marked

Vulnerable places

Theft of all types of vehicle is easier where there are many people coming and going, often not known to each other, such as a campsite. This particular van was stolen from a site which allegedly had good security including barriers manned by a guard which no doubt formed part of the site’s marketing strategy and inflated prices, so what was the guard doing? Well the cynical could say that he was taking a back hander, perhaps he was a politician moonlighting? I have been to many of these sites in the course of my business; on some I am booked in and out, have to provide ID and detail who I am visiting; on others I am just waived through, so the system is patchy

Motorway services are another example where vehicle theft happens more than you would think as the thieves are watching you, are unknown to everyone else and brazenly take your vehicle away, so best to never leave it unattended

You may be one of the lucky ones who never comes a cropper, but why take the risk as the consequences could be devastating