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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Break to vehicle Thiepval


Clive Harris

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Hi everyone,

just another warning regarding parking at the Thiepval visitors centre, I had a vehicle broken into last Tuesday whilst there, the Gendarmarie advised it was the 7th British registered vehicle broken into in the same parking bay this month! They were interested to know if we saw a white Renault Clio or small hatchback hanging around.

For your information the bay in question is in on the right hand side as you enter the new carpark, further up than the cutting/walkway through to the centre towards the coach bays.

In this instance a bag was taken that was hidden beneath a seat, in it a passport, driving licence, wallet, mobile but more worryingly countless priceless family momentoes from the Great War. The passenger window had been jemmied and fingerprints were everywhere when soco'd at the police station.

The space involved is out of site of the centre and hidden between two large banks making it, in retrospect, the perfect spot for such a crime.

On a very very happy and relieving note, the bag, complete with contents was found abandoned in a nearby farmers field and absolutely everything was recovered safely phew!!

Certain lessons have been learnt on my behalf but all should be aware, until the possible erection of cctv and security patrols like Newfoundland Park I suspect I may not be the last victim on this type of crime.

It should be stated that the staff at the centre and especially Romain could not have been more helpful on the day and thier assistance and kindness will not be fogotton by my party or I.

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Clive,

A sad refelection of our times I'm afraid but at least it ended on a happier note.

I hope this sort of thing does not put you, or others, off from visiting the area. That would be a real shame.

Thank you for the warning. I, for one, will be more careful when in the area.

Regards

PAUL JOHNSON

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Clive,

Thanks for the tip-off, glad you got everything back.

Roy

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I have been there lately, thankfully being alerted by this forum about the occasional break-ins.

With all these incidents becoming more and more frequent, i wonder whether it was a good idea to hide away the parking lot by two large walls from watchful views from the museum. Maybe it would be appropriate to remove the earth wall next to the museum. Also the installation of parking lot cameras should be reviewed

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  • 2 months later...

It is a sad case of affairs when we got to pay our respects to the fallen and some people are intent on disrespecting our property.

I believe that it is the times we are living in today, it would be good to see those responsible caught and made to stand in a freezing trench all night under fire, just like those brave Tommies did nearly 90 years ago.

I am ashamed that these thefts can occur in a battlefield remembrance area of all places!!!

Please let the police in France put a stop to this now!!

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In this instance a bag was taken that was hidden beneath a seat, in it a passport, driving licence, wallet, mobile

With a booty like that I’m sure they will be back. Would you do the same in London?

Regards,

Marco

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Marco,

Clive would hardly require a passport in London :ph34r:

It appears to me that anyone who travels abroad will require all the items Clive had with him.

He did his best to hide the bag under his car seat but sadly the scum 'clocked' it or worse were watching him stash it away.

In the end you can only do so much.....

I am a great fan of the down the trouser front wallet type thing.

It has some great advantages......

1. My cash + Passport are always nice and warm.

2. If anyone tries to nick them, I almost always notice.

3. Keeps the girlies guessing ;)

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  • 4 weeks later...

:) I have met Graham, he needs all of the help he can get!

Tony

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I know that car break in have occured over the years in battlefield locations, but 7 or 8 since the Thiepval Centre has opened is worrying, and I hope it is not the beginning of a serious problem.

My other main interest, besides battlfield visiting is rock climbing, and I am a regular visiter to the rock climbing in Fontainbleau Forest abou 50K south of Paris. Here car break ins have reached epidemic proportions, with the cars of British, Belgium and German climbers being targeted. There are gangs of criminals operating out of Paris. Their MO is to drive with transit size van into a car park, or target cars parked on the road side. The gang then smash the car windows, sweep the contents into plastic bin liners, chuck them back into the transit which has a driver still in it and drive off. They are highly professional and ruthless, can clear a car park of say a dozen cars and be gone in less than a minute. Car alarms don't deter them because by the time the owners have reacted they are gone.

The situation in Fontainbleau has become a such a problem that we have taken to leaving one of the party to guard the vehicles on a shift system whilst the others go into the forest to climb. I sincerely hope that these incidents are not the start of a similar problem for battlefield visitors. Even having the car in sight is not a guarantee if it will take you more than a minute of so to run back to it!

The Police are doing their best, but we can all help by making the rewards insufficient for the gangs to take the risk and if you have to leave your car unattended the best advice is to leave NOTHING in it, take the parcel shelf out so that it can be seen there is nothing in the back and leave the glove box open. It may reduce the risk of a break in.

One or more smashed windows can be a serious inconvenience to your drive home quite apart from loss of belongings.

Sorry to be depressing, but what a sad reflection on our society!

Tim

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  • 3 months later...

The only time my car has been broken into (in the UK) was so the little ‘blighters’ :ph34r: could nick the radio. Over the past years, car manufacturers have fitted radios that need a code to operate them once removed from a power source (i.e. your car). Good idea you may think, I did.

Up to yesterday.

The wife’s battery died in her Ford, so down to Halfords for a quick replacement - got battery, jobs a good ‘un.

Ah ha. Need to input the code into the radio/CD thingy.

‘Where’s the radio manual?’

‘It was cluttering up the glove box’

‘So you ditched it?’ :huh:

So no code. This for security reasons means a trip to the Ford main dealer who want prove of ownership, address, utility bills, shoe size, candid holiday snaps etc.

OR… a quick google. Sites provide the codes for £5 asking, nay boasting that they don’t ask for any proof of ownership. Even better Ebay sellers will only charge you £1. (This include Blaupunkt, Philips, and Becker/Mercedes).

Laugh, I nearly bought a round.

Dave

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Well, the best with ford code radio I had with the car before this one...It had a coded radio; the code was on the invoice and in the manual...for maintenance I once took out the radio, and to my surprise on the underside of the radio was a small sticker with the code on it...safe...yes... :D:D

pascal

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Guest Simon Bull

Just returning to the original subject to the thread, can anyone advise which are the safe and unsafe areas to park in at Thiepval?

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Hello

There were actually four vehicles broken into on the Visitor Centre car park last summer (all during the same month) one while mr Lees was visiting the centre. There was another break-in in front of the Ulster Tower,another in Poziers and another in Longueval....seven in total.

Dawn :)

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I always try and keep my vehicle in sight whilst visiting the Battlefields, not always possible of course, but I take sensible precautions by not leaving anything in view in the car.

I'm not surprised that there have been a number of break ins at the Thiepval Centre car park, the designers obviously wanted to obscure the view of the cars / coaches from the surrounding area by creating earth mounds, but in doing so, it also reduces "Natural Surveillance" of the area to enable thieves to work unobserved.

Should CCTV be considered, would it work..??

It doesn't appear to trouble the low life too much here in the UK.

Rob.

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Wherever possible I think it is better to park in the centre of villages or towns rather than in isolated locations. I know that this does not help in the case of Thiepval but......

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At the risk of being tarred and feathered could I suggest that this thread has made its point and now its time to close it? I will confess to contributing a couple of 'off topic' comments but I do think the point has been made, which is:

Take care when parking at Thiepval as there have been numerous thefts from cars parked in the parking bays.

Jerry

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I have deleted a number of posts from this thread as they consisted of an unedifying argument between two members containing abusive comments contrary to the rules of the Forum. Any further similar posts will also be deleted.

Please stick to the topic of the thread as it may help some members avoid trouble.

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I think the moral of this tale is- take precautions when leaving your vehicle anywhere. Don't leave items in view and park in open visible spaces where possible.

Having a really crap radio cassette(yes I said cassette, I don't use it now just the radio) that is not worth an ounce of street cred or cash to a thief may also help.....

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And if you have a posh radio/cassette/CD with a removable front panel don't leave it in the glove box, take it with you and leave the glove box open and empty.

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Just returning to the original subject to the thread, can anyone advise which are the safe and unsafe areas to park in at Thiepval?

Simon - there are only two "best" parking spaces at Thiepval. These are the two spaces immediately opposite the path leading from the car-park to the Visitor Centre. The cars parked in these two places are the only ones which can be seen from the Centre itself.

However, as has been said before, I think all the parking-places are safe as long as there is nothing on view in the car to tempt the opportunist thief.

Tom

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