Never buy caravans in pub car parks or motorway service stations. If you are meeting the seller at a house, always check that it is their home as thieves have been known to use the driveway of an empty house to sell stolen caravans.
Also, always check the following when buying a second-hand caravan privately.
Check that the caravan chassis number has not been removed or altered. If you have any doubts, contact your local crime prevention officer.
Before buying privately, consider checking the caravan’s history on CRiS (you can find details in the ‘Contacts’ section). There is a charge for this service but a quick phone call to check the status of the caravan you are thinking of buying could save you a lot of problems later on, so it is a worthwhile investment.
Is the seller insisting on meeting you away from home, possibly to avoid being identified or traced? If so, why?
Can the seller provide proof of identity and address?
Check that all the caravan keys are available and correct
Check that the numberplate is the same on the caravan and the tow car. Be wary if temporary or handwritten numberplates are being used.
Ask about any security devices that may have been fitted to the caravan by the seller.
Ask the seller whether the caravan is registered with CRiS. If it is, ask the seller to fill in the Notification of Sale section on the back of the Touring Caravan Registration Document and send it to CRiS. The seller should then give you the rest of the Touring Caravan Registration Document and you must fill in the Notification of Changes section and send it to CRiS with the appropriate registration fee. You may also want to check with both major caravanning clubs to reassure yourself that the caravan has not been previously stolen if you have any doubts about the seller.
If the caravan you have bought is not already registered with CRiS, you may want to give serious thought to registering your caravan and having it electronically tagged, as this will help the police to identify and return your caravan if it is stolen.