The Lovebus made its maiden voyage of 2020 yesterday. Yes, I have a camper van, me and Mrs Jones – good name for a song – spend many of our weekends and a large part of the summer in it each year. It was just a short journey to keep the battery charged while my main day-to-day car had its annual service.
Every day like a doe-eyed big shaggy dog hoping for walkies, the Love Bus with its cute awning, bike rack and range of other fun accessories waits breathlessly to be driven away. This time of year we disappoint it though as experience has sadly taught us that camping on cold, wet UK campsites in the winter is the road to motorhome mishap and, what inevitably follows, marital misery.
I was talking about all this to a friend at the garage and uttered the words “campervan on the drive” only to be met by an angry tirade from a complete stranger.
His brand new camper, it turns out, had been stolen off the drive just over a year ago the day before he was due to take it on his big annual holiday. He’d spent months kitting it out and was understandably still heart-broken by the crime. The police were of little help, he said, and it took six months for insurance to pay out and not nearly enough to cover all that he’d spent on accessories and items inside such as crockery.
Others joined in our discussion and it turns out he was far from alone. There were similar tales of cars, campers and caravans being stolen all around my estate including one from a couple who’d bought a motorhome in readiness for retirement only to have it stolen days before their first big trip.
Another was about criminals posing as utility workers calling at target homes so they can pick up the signal from the fobs of keyless cars. Then a few hours later they drive off within seconds. Vehicle thefts have gone up 50 per cent in five years with 120,000 – that’s more than one every minutes – stolen in 2018.
I do have some security on our van and it’s not keyless but I’m now thinking it’s not enough. The unhappy camper that set off this conversation now has a wide range of security devices to protect his cars including alarms, immobilisers, steering locks, wheel clamp and tracker. I can feel a session on Amazon coming on!
Earlier this week my youngest daughter’s boyfriend’s car was broken into and they lost lots of valuable kit that they had both worked hard for. It makes me so angry that there are people out there who are happy to help themselves to other people’s stuff and it’s so depressing that it seems we’re now conditioned to see this as a normal part of modern life.