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Festivals – stop thieves spoiling your fun

Festivals – stop thieves spoiling your fun


If you’re going to a festival this summer, take care; while you’re filling your ears with music, a thief could be filling their pockets with your possessions back at your tent.

Festivals and camping holidays are now big business in the UK, having grown hugely in popularity since the 1990s. And latest research by insurer Policy Expert shows that one-in-twenty-five (4%) will be staying at an outside event this summer, while almost one-in-ten will be camping.

Camping accommodation easier to burgle

Caravans, tents, yurts and other types of camping accommodation are relatively easy to break into, and Policy Expert’s statistics indicate that one-in-thirty (3%) have had something stolen at a festival. That might not sound a lot, but it means there’s a much higher likelihood of it happening than when at home.

If you take the Glastonbury Festival, for example, 3% would equate to around 4,000 people experiencing theft of some sort over the four-day event.

Possessions worth hundreds… in a tent!

And the sort of items that people take with them when they go camping or to festivals make them attractive targets for thieves, having an average value of £236, Policy Expert’s figures show.

However, many carry possessions with them that are worth much more than that. Almost one-in-five (19%) take items worth a total of between £501 and £750, and the possessions of one-in seven would cost £751 to £1,000 to replace.

Most common items

The most common personal belongings festival goers and campers carry around are, as you’d perhaps expect, mobile phones, with 93% taking the devices on-site with them.

Next come cash and credit/debit cards (85%), and 62% take their purses or wallets.

Cameras, which can be very expensive gadgets, are brought on-site by nearly one-in-two campers and festival goers (46%), tablets by one-in-four (26%), GPS devices by almost one-in-five (19%), and radios and Kindles by just under one-in-seven (14%).

One-in-ten (11%) have passports lying around, which are expensive and annoying to replace, as well as sports equipment (10%).

But the potentially most valuable and difficult possession to replace, jewellery, is next on the list for almost one-in-ten too (9%); given the much higher than average chance of theft, it’s probably not the best idea to have jewellery at a festival!

MP3 players and stereos are also packed by just over one-in-fourteen (7%).

Most often stolen

As you’d expect the most commonly lost or stolen items are mobile phones (34% of all reported losses), wallets/purses (20%) and cash/credit/debit cards (12%).

Worryingly for half of festival goers and campers, they don’t have the sort of home insurance which includes cover for possessions when away, so they’d be totally out of pocket if burgled.

At the same time, just over two-thirds (68%), say they won’t be taking out separate travel cover to make sure they could claim if needed.

Prevent thieves having a field day:

– Never leave valuables unattended in tents or in cars
– Consider what you really need to take. Can you share who takes what among your friends? Do you really need to take an expensive watch?
– Only take out as much cash as you need
– Separate cash from cards and only take one bank/credit card if you can
– Keep belongings in the bottom of your sleeping bag at night
– Report anything lost or stolen to the police immediately and get a crime number that you can report to your insurance company.

Policy Expert

We carefully select the insurers on our panel for their cover levels, price and claims service; to make sure you get the best possible quality for less. What you see is what you get – no hidden excesses or excessive fees. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit for more ways to reach us.


Published 15 June 2017