OWNERS of caravans and motorhomes are being urged to remain vigilant following a rise in thefts across Cheshire.

Travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in demand for staycations, mobile homes and caravan holidays.

Since the start of July, four separate caravan theft incidents have been reported in Cheshire, with vans on driveways particularly being targeted.

And Cheshire Police is warning owners to ensure they are locked and secure to prevent them from being stolen.

Inspector Anton Sullivan, of Cheshire Police’s roads and crime unit, said: “Enquiries in relation to the incidents are ongoing and I appeal to anyone with information regarding caravan thefts to get in touch.

“I also urge caravan owners to be vigilant, to review any security measures they have in place and to take steps to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of this type of crime.

“Caravan thieves often scout for desirable vans in the day before returning to steal them at night, so I also ask residents to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour in this regard and report any suspicions to us.”

To prevent thefts from occurring, police say that all doors, windows and roof windows should be closed and locked, with valuables stored elsewhere in a safe place.

Wheel locks are recommended as they have the dual purpose of being a visual deterrent and an anti-theft device, with the best locks still working if tyres are deflated by thieves.

Leaving your caravan in an area covered by CCTV and good quality lighting will deter thieves, as will leaving the hitch head parked inwards and the caravan blocked in and difficult to remove.

Installing a GPS tracker could help to locate caravans if they are stolen, while caravan alarms can give early notice of theft.

Caravan owners are also asked to register with CRiS, as if a vehicle is stolen and stopped by the police, they will be able to get in contact quickly.

David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, added: “These opportunist thieves could not only potentially ruin someone’s staycation, but could also put caravan owners at risk of losing thousands of pounds if their van is stolen.

“I urge all caravan and motorhome owners across the county to follow the advice from Cheshire Police and check the security of their vehicles.

“Also, if any members of the public have information in relation to any suspicious activity in relation to caravan theft, please report it to police on 101, via cheshire.police.uk/ro/report or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 as soon as possible.”