CARAVAN owners are being alerted over soaring thefts of increasingly popular towable getaway homes.

Three caravans worth a combined total of £60,000 were stolen from a farm in Oldham last week.

One of the units was traced to a travellers' site in the Swinton area of Salford, where it is understood two people had begun living in it.

Police told the owners they could not prosecuted because the people said the caravan was not theirs and that someone else had let them use it.

Another caravan was traced to an address in Farnworth, near Bolton. It had extensive internal and external damage.

The third was abandoned in a field after the thieves up trying to tow it across the muddy land.

Its owner, who asked not to be identified, said: "It's disgusting that criminals seem to know more about loopholes in the law.

"These three caravans were worth more than £60,000 and were on a secure site.

"I feel sorry the owners who are suffering because of these lawless thugs."

The owner of the storage site in Oldham, who has also asked not be identified for fear it may attract more thefts, said: "We've been storing caravans for 40 years and for 30 of those we've never had a problem.

"Caravanning has increased in popularity recently, particularly during the pandemic at a time when people can't go abroad on holiday. And because of that there is more of an incentive for people to steal them.

"The thieves who took these caravans went to an awful lot of trouble. There was hawthorn hedge, boulders and a mound of earth preventing them getting away, but they still did it."

In October, a 50-year-old man appeared at Tameside Magistrates' Court charged with interfering with a vehicle and caravan. He was placed under curfew with electronic monitoring.