Trans­port ex­perts ‘shocked’ by unsafe van con­ver­sions

Horse & Hound - - News Insider - By RACHAEL TURNER

AN in­flux of un­sound van-to­horse­box con­ver­sions has led pro­fes­sion­als to call for in­dus­try stan­dards for these ve­hi­cles.

Steve Jebb, of Powys Equine Trailer Spe­cial­ist, sees many vans that have been poorly con­verted.

He said buy­ers can be dis­tracted by the “pretty paint job” and not no­tice that safety may have been over­looked.

“We are con­stantly shocked by the lack of qual­ity that goes into some of these con­ver­sions,” Mr Jebb told H&H.

“With no in­dus­try stan­dards or gov­ern­ment en­force­ment of [such stan­dards], just about any­body can build ‘horse­boxes’ and con­tinue to ex­ploit this mar­ket where peo­ple don’t need to take an­other test to drive them.”

Mr Jebb said around 90% of the van con­ver­sions his com­pany ser­vices, in­spects or re­pairs do not have a safe bulk­head fit­ted be­tween the cab and horse area, as well as hav­ing un­sound walls or floor­ing.

Tris­tan Olivier, of Rock­star Horse­box Ser­vices, agreed ac­tion needs to be taken.

BUYER AD­VICE

“IT’S scary what’s out there,” Mr Olivier told H&H. “Peo­ple re­alised there was a mar­ket for buy­ing a cheap van, tak­ing the body off and put­ting a box on the back, then sell­ing for 15 times what they bought it for.

“Some­thing needs do­ing, but the prob­lem with horse­boxes is they fall into a funny area. They’re not cars, not mo­torhomes. There should be [stan­dards] but the prob­lem is find­ing some­one, or an or­gan­i­sa­tion, that wants to take the mat­ter on.”

Mr Olivier ad­vised any­one buy­ing a van to horse­box con­ver­sion to find out as much as pos­si­ble about the ve­hi­cle be­fore part­ing with any cash.

He said horse­boxes should be thor­oughly in­spected by po­ten­tial buy­ers, in­side and out.

“It’s al­ways worth get­ting it checked by a pro­fes­sional if you’re not con­fi­dent do­ing it your­self,” he added.

“It’s more about get­ting peo­ple to know what they’re buy­ing rather than try­ing to get the in­dus­try to change.

“Peo­ple just jump in [3.5tonne vans] from cars and some­times they can be a bit blink­ered as they think they are fi­nally buy­ing what they’ve al­ways wanted.”

Mike Gaze­ley, di­rec­tor of Gaze­ley Coach­builders, also ad­vised buy­ers to re­search po­ten­tial ve­hi­cles thor­oughly.

“Sadly, some peo­ple look at a horse­box, see fancy paint­work and think it’s a re­ally good truck and buy it,” he told H&H.

“Most hon­est sell­ers are quite happy to have a horse­box in­de­pen­dently in­spected.

“Un­for­tu­nately there are al­ways go­ing to be builders and sell­ers out there who don’t care about how safe the ve­hi­cles are and we’re never go­ing to stop that, but to­gether we can help re­duce the num­ber of them.”

Buy­ers are ad­vised to check lor­ries be­fore

pur­chase. Li­brary im­age

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