Thieves continue to target van park ‘easy pickings’

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Caravan park theft
Police urge caravan park visitors to lock their vehicles at all times

Not for the first time, ruthless thieves have been targeting what are seen as ‘soft targets’ in caravan parks.

Grey nomads and other travellers are being urged yet again not to become too relaxed about security as they enjoy life on the road … and not to offer easy pickings to light-fingered opportunists.

In the latest spate of incidents, numerous vehicles have been broken into in caravan parks on the New South Wales south coast. Police in Eden took reports regarding six different vehicles last weekend, and they suspect there were more break-ins or attempted break-ins that have not been reported.

Items stolen included wallets containing cash, personal papers and cards, a camera, camera bag and accessories, a pocket knife, jackets, and a Toyota branded sports bag. 

Police have been talking with local van park managers in an effort both to catch the offenders and stop similar thefts happening in the future.

Chief Inspector Anthony Moodie of the Far South Coast Local Area Command said it was a recurring problem.

“Just prior to Easter, holiday makers in a number of caravan parks in both Merimbula and Eden had their cars broken into and possessions stolen,” he told the Eden Magnet newspaper. “This no doubt leaves a very poor taste in the mouths of our visitors.”

Police are also urging everyone to remove their possessions from their vehicles and to lock their cars.

“Without blaming the victims here, a common denominator in the cars broken into were that on most occasions they were left unlocked,” said Chief Inspector Moodie. “It’s obvious the temptation has become too much for some of our local criminals.”

It seems that boom gates, security patrols and barbed wire fences are all well and good … but there is only so much that can be done to protect possessions from a determined – or an opportunistic – thief.

·         Have you ever been the victim of theft at a caravan park or campground? Do you find it hard to get the balance right between being ‘relaxed’ and being security conscious? Comment below.

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10 Responses to Thieves continue to target van park ‘easy pickings’

  1. Travelling up ‘the centre’ we lock up everything. Scorched earth is the only way of not getting blagged. We even took our chairs and footware in. It was that bad. Deadlocked the door as we were warned that some ‘locals’ break into vans while people are asleep. Not sure I entirely believe this last part, but it was a park manager who warned us. Cops do their best, but the kids simply hit a site immediately after the cop car goes past…

  2. We had our Tom Tom navigator stolen from our vehicle at Port Lincoln caravan park. They also took a small coin purse with $8. My husband unlocked the car looking for a cigarette lighter to light a gas BBQ in the park. He doesn’t know if he forgot to lock the car or if he touched the keys in his pocket, and unknowingly unlocked the car. We were lucky though as they could have taken a lot of spare keys we had in there!

  3. We were in Cairns and there were 2 y/p breaking into vans, cars, tents even if the owners were inside. The park staff didnt warn us this was going on until hubby and I busted them at 3 one morning. All of a sudden it was ” oh be careful not we do get some stealing here’ some. It was every night until they got busted. We were also told to be careful and make sure we lock all windows as the theives were using wire hooks to steal stuff.

  4. Caravan park managers/owners are not going to pre-warn you as this will cost them dollars in lost revenue. They also don’t tell you about dodgy television, wifi or mobile phone reception for the same reason.

  5. I took the trouble to install 12v thermal movement lighting in 4 places around my van and a car alarm on my vehicle before I went on my last long trip, apart from stormy winds did I have any trouble with either going off during the night. I installed a kill switch inside the van for such stormy events when I got home but haven’t yet been out again to try will do soon

  6. We were just in Tasmania 2 weeks ago (May 5) and our motorhome was broken into at The Cataract Gorge, Launceston. So far the damage bill is more than $9,000 and we still haven’t been able to have the motorhome door fixed. We have had to return to Sydney to try and find a willing repairer…

    • Unfortunately Brian the Gorge car park has been notorious for the last 45 years since I first became aware whilst living in Tassie. Nobody seems motivated to want to do anything about it. Why couldn’t security cameras be installed. May be a letter from the editor to the council may carry some weight.

      • Its very sad David as it is such a lovely place. We will go back some other time but our motorhome will be somewhere else and not in that car park. The Launceston Police were very good and attentive but I must say that the guy who handles recovered property told us where the surplus stuff would be dumped – and he was right. We got back some worthless items but the damage has been done…

  7. Pop top van owners must take care. Some places through out our great land, nasty types slit the pop top quietly at night and run their hand along the opening. Many people put keys, jewellery, wallets and handbags up on the top of cupboards overnight.

  8. On two occasions we have stayed at narrabeen caravan park we have had our wayco fridge in our annex broken into and all the contents stolen .

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