Practical Caravan

Our tracker test


We had an Outsmart the Thief tracker and alarm fitted in early 2023, and at the time, I revealed to the OSTT team that we would be ‘stealing’ the van sometime in the future, as part of our real-world test, and assessing the firm’s response.

Fast-forward to the summer and we’re back with the Adria at its home location in Cambridges­hire.

Our fake thief begins by ‘attacking’ the luxury tourer’s locks, then winds up the corner steadies and hooks up his car.

However, as soon as he pulls away, the alarm on the Adria is triggered, the siren sounds and the indicator lights start to flash. We start the stopwatch.

The thief makes a quick getaway, but after just 19 seconds, the owner’s mobile gets an automated text message from Outsmart the Thief, asking if we are with our caravan and if we have accidental­ly triggered the alarm.

As the caravan has been ‘stolen’, the owner is about to call OSTT, when the phone rings – it’s them. Just 34 seconds since the alarm was triggered.

At this point, the tracking company would confirm the theft and contact

the local police, as well as its nationwide network of ‘spotters’ – a surprising­ly effective group of enthusiast­ic caravan and motorhome fans who have eagle eyes for stolen leisure vehicles.

Of course, as mentioned earlier, you should never chase and confront caravan thieves yourself, but for the sole purposes of this test, we did just that.

Outsmart the Thief sent a web link to the owner’s phone by text message, and when we clicked on it, a map of the area appeared on screen, showing the precise location and direction of travel of the ‘stolen’ van. We set off in pursuit.

By this point, the thief had gained a few minutes’ lead, but looking at the phone, it was easy to see the direction in which they were headed.

We drove through town and out into the sticks, and it was not long after this that we saw the thief had stopped off in a layby, around 10 miles away from the original scene of the ‘theft’.

So in just a matter of minutes, we had caught up and reclaimed the caravan.

To be honest, I was secretly hoping for a bit more of a chase and perhaps a little ‘Hollywood’ excitement, but in the end, the tracker was boringly effective!


This test really was a very impressive performanc­e by the Outsmart the Thief tracker system, and I’m pretty sure that other major brands providing monitoring can deliver similar expertise.

So if this test proves one thing, it’s that modern tracker technology works.

Of course, the reaction time of the tracker company is crucial, as it often means that a vehicle can be traced and returned to its owner very quickly, before any damage is done to it.

I see from browsing various ‘stolen caravan and motorhome’ social media pages that dozens of leisure vehicles are pilfered each week. Often it seems, the thieves park up the stolen vehicle for a day or two immediatel­y afterwards, to see if it is located with a tracker, before going back to pick it up. Those are the ‘golden hours’ when you could get your caravan back virtually unharmed.

Protecting your prized possession­s from thieves is always a battle of wits, but if our test was anything to go by, a top-quality tracker and alarm system can give you the best chance of getting your beloved caravan back quickly, and importantl­y, still in one piece.

 ?? ?? CCTV images show the caravan being driven away…
CCTV images show the caravan being driven away…
 ?? ?? … but using the tracker, the ‘stolen’ van is quickly located
… but using the tracker, the ‘stolen’ van is quickly located
 ?? ?? The Adria parked up on the driveway, apparently safe…
The Adria parked up on the driveway, apparently safe…
 ?? ?? … until the ‘thief’ gets to work on locks and corner steadies
… until the ‘thief’ gets to work on locks and corner steadies

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