Paddock Thefts - Be Careful

Paddock Thefts - Be Careful

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TimCrighton

Original Poster:

987 posts

176 months

Monday 26th October
quotequote all
Unfortunately there were a series of thefts from the paddock at a recent 750MC round at Oulton Park (10th October).

Whilst the races were in progress the thieves targeted the particular series on track, removing personal valuables from vans etc.

The thieves have subsequently made attempts to use the cards and materials stolen and the matter is now with the Police.

Due to the current COVID19 restrictions in place at circuits access to the paddock space is theoretically only for competitors and their immediate support team. This then very sadly means there is a real chance that this is the work of a fellow competitor, one of their team or an official.

As competitors we often assume that club motorsport is a 'family', that we are all fans and enthusiasts. In reality when we are focused on juggling to get a race car out on circuit in a high pressure environment we probably aren't diligent enough about security in the paddock.

What has shocked me however is since publicising the thefts, is that I've been inundated with messages and stories of similar incidents from race circuits across the UK. This is not an Oulton specific issue (although Cheshire police have said there have been a number of similar incidents there recently with a similar MO) and could happen at any venue, circuit, hill climb or sprint. There were a spate of thefts from a recent round at Croft and also the theft of race car parts from a competitor at Brands. So where ever you are in the country this seems to be a growing issue.

It appears that we are leaving ourselves open and vulnerable as a sport. I am proposing to lobby Motorsport UK to issue a warning to all competitors that this is a rising issue. Motorsport is expensive enough!

We have all done it - you get changed in the van or trailer in the morning, put your valuables in your race bag and the van or trailer stays open during the day as people are in and out of it all day - but it seems some of the wrong people are in and out of them as well!

PLEASE BE AWARE WHEN YOU ARE AT RACE CIRCUITS. TAKE ACTION TO PREVENT THEFTS AND LOCK YOUR VALUABLES SECURELY.

I am also going to approach the Association of Motor Racing Circuit Owners to promote installing lockers into pit garages etc to provide some space for those doing track days and similar to leave items whilst on circuit.



Edited by TimCrighton on Tuesday 27th October 10:34

Drumroll

2,434 posts

80 months

Monday 26th October
quotequote all
Unfortunately one of the competitors, in the DDMC, Northern Saloons had his toolbox stolen at Croft earlier this season. (Croft hasn't had any spectators in this season)

TimCrighton

Original Poster:

987 posts

176 months

Monday 26th October
quotequote all
No, sadly Drumroll that seems to be a recurrent comment. It seems there is a mole in the house somewhere.

So much of the great atmosphere of racing is based on trust. I've been fortunate to be on the receiving end of incredible generosity in paddocks and I've always tried to give it back. Lending kit and tools to help out.

When this sort of situation arises it makes you question that approach and that makes motorsport a poorer place to be.

Dynion Araf Uchaf

2,604 posts

183 months

Monday 26th October
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disappointed to hear this. To put it in perspective I've raced for 25 years and can only remember 1 incident like this, but in that case someone pinched the whole rear end of a FVee!

I think the circuits need to have better CCTV, and as the MO seems to be targeting the circuit out on track, then the series organisers need to remain in the location of the paddock where the championship is parked patrolling the area. Or maybe you park anywhere so that you're not necessarily parked in an area where everybody is racing at the same time. Better still if you agree to look after your neighbours stuff when he/she is out on track.

cashmax

739 posts

200 months

Tuesday 27th October
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Oulton was the only circuit I raced at this year where there was no effort to separate paddock from spectators.

DoubleD

15,190 posts

68 months

Tuesday 27th October
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You should always lock away your valuables, you cant really blame the track if you dont.

fesuvious

6,040 posts

201 months

Tuesday 27th October
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For many this is like having a member of your family pilfering from you.

Up until now it never crossed my mind that the paddock was an area where my possessions weren't safe.

Motorhome, trailer, techie van, everything was left unlocked. No thefts. No issues.

This is a great shame

Cheeses of Nazareth

698 posts

11 months

Tuesday 27th October
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DoubleD said:
You should always lock away your valuables, you cant really blame the track if you dont.
whilst I can here people say ' but you shouldn't have to ' ... lock stuff away , properly.



TimCrighton

Original Poster:

987 posts

176 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
fesuvious said:
For many this is like having a member of your family pilfering from you.
Absolutely - motorsport is a family - or at least it that is how it always used to feel.

The two other commenters are of course quite right - there is no excuse, but in an environment where I thought we all looked out for each other and where because of necessity its often needed to leave tools etc in awnings during race weekends (from personal experience trying to negotiate all of the contents of our awning, roll cabs, top boxes, compressors, jacks, stands, catering the lot back into the truck between races simply isn't practicable and so people have probably become accustomed to getting away without.

Having given it thought as well this week I am particularly keen to ensure that there is a solution in place for those doing track days. At race meetings we often have cars or vans with us to lock away items. But at a track day we continuously remind participants to empty loose items from their cars, take things out of door pockets etc - but frequently these cars have been driven to the circuit meaning that people have no option but to leave items in the car or to leave them in garages etc. We need to find a better solution to that - even if its lockers in race control or something!

Bare in mind the items were in a zipped race bag in the back of a van which was closed (although not locked) in the paddock immediately behind the pit lane. So they had to open the van, be bold enough to go for a rummage around to find the bag in the first place and then take the items from the bag. The other incidents were all similar. It wasn't an opportunist 'swipe' from a table top or tool box.

I've been made aware of a 'ring' which was broken up in the US in the past year which was a group of supposed 'enthusiasts' who travelled with the club circuit to various race meetings, acting knowledgably on cars and results, building up a rapport with teams and competitors specifically to be able to get into pit areas and awnings to take items. The ring was eventually caught out making a purchase which flagged suspicion and lead to the thing being unraveled. I hope and pray that such a similar scenario is not the case here, and very much hope it is a rogue outside with no connection to the sport. But given the 'closed' door approach to meetings this year it is sadly probable it is someone involved in motorsport.

If nothing else is gained from this experience hopefully it will act as a reminder to ensure we are all taking the action we need to secure items in the paddock and not making motorsport an easy target for thieves.



Edited by TimCrighton on Tuesday 27th October 11:07

andrewcliffe

599 posts

184 months

Tuesday 27th October
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Its not a new thing at Oulton I'm afraid - I know several people who have had things stolen. Donington and Brands also.

BertBert

14,323 posts

171 months

Tuesday 27th October
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andrewcliffe said:
Its not a new thing at Oulton I'm afraid - I know several people who have had things stolen. Donington and Brands also.
And as someone else has said, Croft.

drakart

1,610 posts

170 months

Tuesday 27th October
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I was racing with you at Oulton in the 116 Trophy. Whilst the paddock was supposed to be closed to spectators, it wasn't. You couldn't drive a car in, but you could walk in. A friend appeared on the pit wall out of the blue and he'd just paid to spectate. Checks weren't being made, he had no idea he wasn't supposed to be there.

I had £250 cash and my bank cards stolen (from my rolled up jeans within my zipped up helmet bag) out of our garage during an endurance race at Anglesey a few years ago. It's very hard to secure everything all the time - even in a garage with your team in there. For instance, what do I do with my car keys whilst I'm racing? I'm just glad I didn't have anything else stolen this time.

jeremyc

18,809 posts

244 months

Tuesday 27th October
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It's not a new thing, unfortunately.

I had the spare wheel stolen from my trailer at a track day whilst I was on circuit; they had to go to the effort of unbolting it as well. mad

Nampahc Niloc

534 posts

38 months

Tuesday 27th October
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I have a padlock with a number code on the tool locker on my trailer. I then put my car keys in there and I don’t need to carry anything with me in the car. Not thief proof, but they would need to be pretty determined to get in, then know to look under the smelly rags at the bottom (which hopefully is a bit of a deterrent).

Dynion Araf Uchaf

2,604 posts

183 months

Tuesday 27th October
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Nampahc Niloc said:
I have a padlock with a number code on the tool locker on my trailer. I then put my car keys in there and I don’t need to carry anything with me in the car. Not thief proof, but they would need to be pretty determined to get in, then know to look under the smelly rags at the bottom (which hopefully is a bit of a deterrent).
Smelly rags at bottom of locked tool chest,car key, noted thanks!

mattnoss

144 posts

144 months

Tuesday 27th October
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As we left the Snetterton paddock on the the 4th of July after our race we were jokingly asked if the car we were towing was ours, then on a more serious note we were informed that thefts had occurred in the paddock that day. Apparently they had CCTV footage but it didn’t show clearly enough the perpetrators. I believe this was the first club weekend back racing after the C-19 lockdown and was run as a private event with no access to the general public anywhere.

andrewcliffe

599 posts

184 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
I'm classed as Media at most circuits so I get to wander around a bit. I've been to Donington (twice), Brands, Silverstone (twice) Snetterton and Oulton so far this strange season and at all of them there has been attempts to seperate paddocks from spectators. Silverstone's answer was not to have spectators at all as classed as an elite venue, but most of the others erected barriers or had men to filter out people.

As competitors still get a certain number of tickets, it doesn't take long before tickets get out into the wild, and that ticket gives someone access to paddock areas, where there is a mass exodus to the assembly areas / pit lane leaving behind those people who probably don't really want to be there in that section of paddock, and a confident person can walk around in a manner that makes others think he belongs there.

It does mean that the degrees of seperation between competitors and thieves are closer than you may initially imagine.

TimCrighton

Original Poster:

987 posts

176 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
drakart said:
I had £250 cash and my bank cards stolen
Hi Andy, I suspect I know the precise time you reference - if you want to find my Dad on RoR days now during the service break it will be wandering purposefully around the Paddock in an attempt to ensure that it doesn't happen again whilst all eyes are seemingly focused on the main reason for being there that weekend. I know he took that one to heart, especially given the theme of the event. Anglesey too has seen its incidents, thankfully not many, and hence why I said in my OP that it is a matter and challenge for all circuits and all competitors to ensure they come up with a solution. Its not the tracks alone, its a joint approach and raising the awareness of the issue in the sport as a whole. 2020 does seem sadly to have been particularly prevalent for it. Its the first time I've ever had an issue in 21 years of racing cars.

My primary interest is in raising the awareness that its going on. It seems to be increasing and may my misfortune protect someone else if I highlight it. Based on what I've collated so far it looks like there have been at least a dozen separate incidents of theft, ranging from Tool Boxes to Wallets this season alone from within Paddocks. For a massively compresses race season with a lot fewer meetings that feels a lot to me!



Graham

16,340 posts

244 months

Wednesday 28th October
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Not a new thing, I've heard of at least one person suffering theft every year for the last 20 years, its worse on the continent !!! pit bikes and even mopeds disappear...At the last LM classic out truck was backed up to the fence in the competitor camping an when we went to leave, there was a hole cut in the fence and 2 stolen pit bikes stashed there...

It is a pain, as you set out your pit with tools and spares and fuel, so you can get to it quickly, but there is a lot of money tied up there.. Im contemplating adding a key coded lock to the truck, as its a pain when you have to run back mid race, and realise someone else has the key !!!


not really a sign of the times more of a reflection that there always has and always will be scum in the human race


mat205125

15,998 posts

173 months

Wednesday 28th October
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DoubleD said:
You should always lock away your valuables, you cant really blame the track if you dont.
Nice sentiment that I kinda agree with, however a level of trust and security of the entry and exit from the paddock is also expected

Not unusual to use wheels and tyres or fuel cans to weight down a tent, for example.