Reducing caravan theft
Some 4,000 touring caravans are stolen each year, nearly
a quarter of all new caravans sold annually. The Caravan
Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS) currently
holds details of over 10,000 outstanding caravan theft
reports. Few as one in four of these caravans are ever
There are around a half a million touring caravans throughout
the UK , some of which are over 30 years old. There are
around 60 manufacturers of caravans throughout Europe,
over 20 of which are based in the UK . Between them they
produce nearly 600 different models each year, so identifying
the make and model of a caravan can be difficult.
What is CRiS?
CRiS, Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme,
is the national register of UK-manufactured touring caravans.
All new UK-made caravans since August 1992 are allocated
a 17-digit identity number, similar to that found on motor
vehicles and recorded by the DVLA. The CRiS number and
the caravan description are recorded on a Touring Caravan
Registration Document, similar to a vehicle registration
document, that includes information about the caravan and
its keeper. It also includes a tear-off strip to notify
CRiS of any change in circumstances.
The CRiS scheme holds all the information known about
a caravan including the last registered keeper and whether
it has been stolen or written off.
Why be suspicious?
Common signs of damage and tampering include:
locker locks are changed or tape used to
keep them closed
the CRiS number on the windows been interfered
clever thieves have been known to remove
or alter the CRiS number with a hot pin and blue paint
most caravanner's tend to be older couples
or families in saloon cars
whether the towing vehicle equates to the
perceived value of the caravan being towed
the vehicle's occupant without the caravan
Look at the door, door frame and locks for damage. If
the caravan is suspect then it can be checked by contacting:
CRiS phone line: 01722 411 430
Equipped to steal
It is often very basic equipment that is used to steal
caravans and will normally include implements to remove
most types of wheel clamps and hitch locks by force. Many
appliances from crow bars to screwdrivers are used to access
the inside. To remove a caravan secured by a hitch lock
thieves often use a metal 'drop box' or heavy duty ratchet
straps attached to another towing hitch.
Information required when a caravan is reported stolen
Date, time, venue of offence
Name and address of owner
Caravan make (eg Avondale)
Model (eg Land Ranger)
Exact model variant (eg 6400L)
Is caravan a UK or European model / Single-
Is caravan CRiS registered
Do they have the CRiS registration document
VIN/chassis / CRiS identification number,
for post-1992 UK-built caravans this will be 17 digits,
pre-1992 may be less
How was caravan secured (eg wheel clamp,
hitch lock, alarm fitted)
Description of caravan contents (eg colour,
model, value) with identifiable features (scratches, dents)
Complete crime report ensuring caravan is
circulated on Police National Computer (PNC)
Advise owner to inform insurance company
and CRiS database if applicable as soon as possible
How old? Try to gauge an approximate date
of manufacture. Design? Component dating?
Is the towing vehicle and occupants consistent
with the caravan?
UK- or European-built - which side does the
door open? Single- or twin-axle?
If UK-built (after 1992) look for a 17-digit
dot matrix etched number on windows.
Examine chassis and A-frame for a stamped
identification number. This should match above.
Look at all numbers carefully for signs of
Request PNC caravan (trailer) check on property
Consider CRiS database search, tel: 01722
Use your powers - seize and recover caravan
as per local arrangements/ instructions.
If applicable request a CRiS electronic tag
reader from CRiS database. If possible do not use in presence
of suspect or onlookers.
Consider an expert examination by your Force
vehicle examiners (Stolen Vehicle/ Traffic Units).
Consider Vehicle Online Descriptive search
(VODs) on PNC and F150 search.