Car Parks & Service Areas
Service that may not make you smile !
Love them or loath them, we all have occasions when we need to stop at motorway service areas when towing. But were you aware that organised gangs frequent such places on the lookout for opportunities? I’m not just talking about extended breaks, even short stops to use the facilities or fuel up can result in the loss of your van if you’re not switched on to the risk.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
Firstly, choose a sensible parking spot, not one tucked away in a quiet corner or between other large vehicles. The more visible your van is the greater the risk for the thieves. Pay attention to what’s around you as you park up. A van full of guys watching you could be a team of workmen hiding from the boss but caravan thieves also work in teams and need a vehicle to carry there equipment as well as towing off what they steal. Have a look at the site’s CCTV cameras (the thieves have), can you park in an areas they are monitoring? Can you park where you can watch the van from the services?
If at all possible, do not leave your van unattended. You can take turns to use the facilities and only one of you needs to visit the shop or fuel up. I accept this is not always possible especially if you’re travelling alone or one of you has a disability. If you have to leave the van unattended then do what you would when you store it – hide all valuables, make sure all doors, windows and lockers are secure, deploy your security locks, turn your alarm and tracker on. You don’t need to unhitch a caravan from the car to fit a hitch lock, simply lock it to the car. As a quick aside – I know many of you leave the hitch lock in place even when you’re towing but that’s not something i’m personally recommending. It may seem a bit of a faff but even putting the steadies down will slow down a thief and act as a deterrent.
Clearly if your just stopping for fuel you wont need to fit your locks and lower the steadies especially if the car is still occupied but don’t leave your keys in the ignition while you’re filling up, yours wouldn’t be the first vehicle taken from a forecourt with the kids still in the back! If there’s people in the car leave the doors unlocked in case of an emergency but put the keys in your pocket.