• Christine Keate

Beware of trailer thieves!

Before trailer towing rules came into force in the UK last December, abolishing the requirement of a test for many new trailer drivers, demand for new and used horse trailers was strong. The rule change is attracting an increased number of new, young trailer drivers which, coupled with a scarcity of horse trailers, is fueling a surge in horse trailer theft.

With this recent increase in trailer theft, owners are being encouraged to be extra vigilant. Any delay between the theft of a trailer and it being reported to the police can prove costly. Treve Jenkin, Data Protection Officer at trailer and plant checking company, The Equipment Register said: "A problem we frequently encounter with horse trailer theft is that people park them up at the yard or stables, and particularly at this time of the year with the short days, they do not notice straightaway that their trailer has been stolen. A horse trailer that has been gone for several days could have been sold on, sometimes even twice, before it is reported as stolen."

SEIB Insurance Brokers Deputy Chairman, Barry Fehler said: "If a trailer is purchased that is later identified as stolen, the purchaser is liable to return the trailer to its rightful owner. We work closely with the police and theft tracking companies and the information they hold on stolen trailers. By reporting the theft of a trailer quickly, it dramatically increases the chance of it being successfully returned to its rightful owner. Having the correct insurance in place provides peace of mind for our customers."

A main Ifor Williams dealership confirms that a lengthy wait on delivery of a new Ifor Williams trailer is now commonplace. The dealer was unable to confirm the exact price that would be payable on completion of the purchase of a new trailer owing to a scarcity of materials and regular rises in prices. The prospect of purchasing an approved second-hand trailer from the dealer seemed an outside chance.

Valerie Isted runs Equinity Trailer Hire in West Sussex. The company is experiencing unprecedented demand for the time of year. She said: "People are struggling to buy trailers on the private market and are increasingly hiring them instead. Demand for trailer hire is huge at the moment for both long and short-term arrangements. We currently have 46 trailers out on hire and a waiting list of 11. I am trying to purchase further Ifor Williams trailers and supply is a real issue."

The market is moving so fast, it is commonplace to put a deposit down before going to even see a trailer. Valerie continued: "Buyers need to be really careful when sending a deposit for a trailer they have seen online or on social media before going to see it. There are plenty of people out there that will take the money and be gone."

Treve Jenkins confirmed that over the past 12 months 3.8 out of every 10 trailer checks run by his company has confirmed a problem. He added: "If the trailer doesn't have a VIN plate, or it has been filed clear - don't buy it. Also, all trailers manufactured in the last few years will have been supplied with a certificate of conformity. If this is not available, to me, it would signal that something is not right."


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