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The Cambridge-Oxford Owners Club mobilise their members to retrieve stolen Camper

posted 20 Feb 2013, 05:56 by Eddie Foster

On the night of November 10th/11th 2012, Lee Clarke's distinctive Aqua Blue A60 SunTor Caravanette was stolen from the Croydon area.

Lee is a popular and well known member of The Cambridge-Oxford Owners Club and his SunTor is a regular feature of club events. Like many of us in the classic car movement Lee had a great many hours of his spare time invested in his pride and joy which he's owned since 1985.

The theft was soon on the club's Farina Forum and members then spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, www.stolenclassics.co.uk and other social media. The latest issue of the Rosette Recorder, the club's magazine, had just been printed and before they were despatched the printers, Colourplan, printed and then attached stickers with details of the theft to each envelope.

After a week of these appeals and searches a friend of the Club's Modified Car Officer Seth Kennedy, spotted the camper parked on a street in Beckenham and informed the Police. Lee was then able to get it back in one piece although the locks and trim had been damaged.

Despite the fact that those who perpetrated the crime have not been apprehended this is a very happy ending as few stolen classics are ever recovered.

As Lee said, "After a stressful and distraught week, with little sleep or food, finding the van was fantastic. A very sincere thank you to all in a really great club. The power of the web is phenomenal; the van is now home and not seriously damaged."

Classic Watch

However this started the club's committee discussing the situation and made us wonder if some sort of National Neighbourhood Watch Scheme for Classics could be started. Basically a more organised version of what the club has just done to find Lee's Camper.

What's needed is a system that automatically e- mails the details and picture to every classic car club, forum and magazine in the UK as soon as a stolen vehicle is registered, so as many people as possible are searching for the car. Most enthusiasts notice unusual cars as we go about our business, it's part of the hobby, so having thousands of eyes and ears looking for each stolen car can only be a good thing.

Hopefully we can, as a movement, agree to set up one resource to do this because as soon as two platforms exist the effectiveness of both is greatly reduced.

We at the Cambridge-Oxford Owners Club would certainly welcome ideas on this subject and support any organisation with the means to develop such an idea.