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Stolen Waggons  - A growing problem?

Over the last few years Romani vardos have increasingly become a soft target for organised "gang thieves" in the UK.   Often cleverly organised, these shady characters seem to take extraordinary risks to achieve their aims. A classic example is the 2 vardos stolen from the Mary Arden House Museum on Stow Fair Day 2007. The event took place in the middle of the night using a hiab-type lifting tackle on flat bed lorries.

Wheels, stoves, lamps and beautiful carvings are also common items of waggon theft - though of a lesser value, it's still going to hurt the owner if it takes place. A full set of  wooden wheels are expensive to replace and will usually require a complete refit with fresh matching axles.

So what can be done? Firstly we're not in US, so if you stumble across some fleeing shadows running across your yard in the dead of night you can't go filling their rumps with lead pellets without ending up in one of Her Majesty's closets. I used to get shot at with rice filled cartridges by a yogomush - gamekeeper in my youth poaching barrikanni - pheasants; the sudden bang made for a change of clothes afterwards but that's another tale.

Waggon security? Most times it's all down to common sense
. Vardo owners think waggon theft will never happen to them, and it's true that most times it doesn't - however don't be fooled into a false sense of security. Today's thieves even get caught digging up main roads behind nicked traffic lights to steal copper-laden cables or chor church marble figurines and ancient relics to flog to bent collectors. Sadly these days anything goes, and I'm afraid that includes rare one-and-a-half ton Romani vardos. So sensible measures need to be taken, otherwise one night you could be shouting up the stairs "Missus, the waggon's gone and they've took the dog too!".

Perhaps it could be time to re-evaluate your security arrangements around your trusty timber waggon/s, if just to slow down any would-be criminals - no thief likes to be delayed or hang around longer than planned; it get hearts racing, and mistakes are made - so stack the odds against them and make your world full of obstacles.

- if your budgets limited, then DIY your own security: off-the-shelf CCTV alarm systems, infrared security lights and dummy cameras are all cheap today, and most are adequate for the job. If you have unlimited funds and own rare vardos or a valuable collection, then get a professional security system fitted, even a tracker device; they fit them on £80k Aston Martins, so if your waggon's worth similar then why not? Other measures - a loud dog or noisy geese for a wake up call. If the waggon's stored up for winter, heavy-chain the wheels together and slap some anti-theft grease on the chain. If they get this on them, it will go "everywhere on everything" - their vehicles, clothes etc, and the dye stains the hands for weeks. One of the best remedies if you're not using the waggon much or it's in long term storage is to completely remove the wheels and store them 30 miles away for safe keeping. Moving a full-size "dead waggon" without wheels is a mammoth job for most people at the best of times, especially without heavy lifting tackle or winches. Whatever you choose, do something - it's worth it!

What happens to the stolen vardos? Probably they get stored up till the dust settles then sold on to some well hidden punter or back on to the open market, broken up for spares, or frittered away overseas in a ship's container to an awaiting client. Either way, once one waggon is successfully chored they will be after another! And it could be yours next!

Stay vigilant and contact Gypsy Waggons if you have any information regarding stolen vardos.
Atch konyo vardo fokendi.

STOLEN - Two Bill Wright Waggons - Mary Arden House Museum
midnight Thursday 10th May 2007 on Stow Fair Day
Bowtop now found but ledge still missing

Do you know the whereabouts of this Bill Wright ledge?
One of the two stolen waggons from the Mary Arden House museum near Stratford was found - the green Bill Wright bowtop was discovered in a garage in Telford. Police arrested a 48-year-old man, who was questioned in Leamington. The caravans, which are valued at around £50,000, were taken when thieves cut through a metal chain securing a farm gate at the Wilmcote museum. Nick Walsh, head of operations for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: "We were delighted when we had the call this morning". However the red ledge waggon has still not been found.

Please help find this second waggon.

If you have any information, no matter how small, please contact:
PC Sue Neville Alcester Police 01926 415000. All information will be treated in strictest confidence.

STOLEN - VICKERS 1970s Flash Trailer
Nr Peterborough

A recently purchased 1970s Vickers caravan was stolen in the middle of the night from the yard where it was being stored near Peterborough. The caravan is an early 1970s Vickers trailer with very distinctive rare red banding on the trim. It was towable, however it was under restoration at the time. Many of the trims were missing visually and were stored inside the trailer: these included the wheel arches and bumpers. It is a rare caravan so is not difficult to recognise.

As you might  imagine, the owners are absolutely gutted, and they would be hugely grateful if anybody could help trace their stolen trailer.
Any information will be treated in the strictest of confidence,
and you can contact the owners or Police as follows :-
Eddy Pearce - mobile is 07976 249699;
Caroline is on 07977 531163; or
Corby Police on 01536 207660 (crime ref.  NB25473/07).

REWARD OFFERED - The owners are offering a cash reward for any information that successfully leads to the trailer's recovery.

Midnight waggon robbers and daytime too

Recovered Stolen

February 21st 2011 the vanishing showman mysteriously turned up, having been abandoned in nearby countryside, probably due to the heavy media coverage it received upon disappearance. The "Red Hot"  van was clearly more than a handful for the thieves to move on, and with a substantial reward being offered the inevitable "dumping" eventually took place, to the joy of the owners.

Tragically, the waggon was stolen from a workshop, based in a rural area of North Hampshire, early on Saturday morning, 4th December.  The window of the workshop was smashed, considerable damage done, and 7 padlocks and chains cut through. This valuable 100-year-old caravan had been in the family for over 20 years. Recently restored and repainted to its original beautiful condition, this took over 2 years of painstaking work by one of the few craftsmen able to carry out this sort of work.

The caravan was then removed on a low loader, so someone must have seen this event in the lanes of North Hampshire.

If you have any information on who may have initially stolen the showman, please contact the Hampshire police below.  The crime reference is 44100511037.

Tel Police:  0845 045 45 45 or 01962 841534.

Thank you.

Showman Waggon from near Bordon, Hampshire
Thursday 25th April 2013

Stolen over night from garden near Bordon, Hampshire.  Personal evidence dropped at the crime scene is currently being examined by the police.
GENEROUS REWARD OFFERED for information leading to the waggon's recovery.
All information, treated in the strictest confidence - please contact David on  07517 111813
or Hampshire police 01962 841534.