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The recent theft of an Ifor Williams flat-bed trailer from County Durham last weekend has highlighted the need for owners to be extra vigilant.

Having forced their way through a locked gate at Lintzford Bridge Garden Nurseries and unsuccessfully attempted to hotwire a forklift truck, thieves turned their attention to the trailer.

An unspecified security device fitted to the trailer was cut through and a forklift truck was pushed out of the way, allowing the thieves to hitch the trailer to their own vehicle and drive away undetected.

Thefts of all types of trailer, including horse transporters, has become a major problem, with reported thefts occurring all round the country rather than being confined to particular areas.

Most trailer owners use some form of security device on their vehicles, but, as this latest case proves, basic measures are not always enough. DC Bentham, of the community safety department of Derwentside Police, explains that in order to steal this trailer, the thieves had to overcome several security measures.

“The security of this trailer was good, but it was still stolen,” he says. “It appears to have been taken by a fairly professional thief.”

In order to maximise trailer security and reduce the risk of theft, owners are advised to take as many preventative measures as possible. Where possible, DC Bentham advises, vehicles should be kept on the owner’s premises, locked up, and out of sight of the road. In addition, security lights and alarms will act not only as a deterrent but will also increase the chances of being alerted to the theft taking place.

Immobilising devices such as heavy-duty chains and wheel clamps are popular, as is apparatus that disables the tow hitch. A combination of different types of security device will be more effective than any one on its own.

Finally, DC Bentham recommends minimising desirability of a trailer by removing everything from the interior and ensuring nothing is left on display. ‘Personalised’ trailers are harder to sell on illegally, and easier to track down. All trailers should be adequately insured against theft.