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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
LOCKING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2006/017882
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A locking guard (11) comprising a housing (12) securable relative to a surface by securing means (29), the locking guard (12) adapted to receive a portion of a locking means (14) adapted to secure an article in association with the surface, a portion of the locking means (14) being receivable within the locking guard (12) to be secured there within by a locking pin (16), the locking pin (16) being adapted to be releasably locked within the locking guard (12).

Inventors:
Dixon, Paul (11 Edinburgh Road, Forrestfield, Western Australia 6058, AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2005/001170
Publication Date:
February 23, 2006
Filing Date:
August 04, 2005
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
Dixon, Paul (11 Edinburgh Road, Forrestfield, Western Australia 6058, AU)
International Classes:
B62D63/08; E05B71/00; E05B73/00; (IPC1-7): E05B71/00; B62D63/08; E05B73/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2001006898A1
WO1986001560A1
WO2000063564A1
Foreign References:
US4463924A
US4907522A
GB2134587A
US20050044905A1
US6862904B1
US6073470A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WRAY & ASSOCIATES (The Quadrant, Level 4 1 William Stree, Perth Western Australia 6000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
The claims defining the invention are as follows:
1. A locking device comprising a housing securable relative to a surface by securing means, the locking guard adapted to receive a portion of a locking means adapted to secure an article in association with the surface, a portion of the locking means being receivable within the locking guard to be secured there within by a locking pin, the locking pin being adapted to be releasably locked within the locking guard.
2. A locking device as claimed at claim 1 wherein the housing encloses the locking pin and the said portion of the locking means.
3. A locking device as claimed at claim 1 or claim 2 wherein access to the securing means is prevented by the locking pin when the locking pin is locked within the locking guard.
4. A locking device as claimed at any one of the previous claims wherein the locking pin is secured to the locking guard by at least one security fixing.
5. A locking device as claimed at claim 4 wherein the at least one security fixing comprises a socket headed nut having a socket extending into the exposed endface of the nut, the socket comprising an irregularly surfaced interior adapted to cooperate with a tool having a correspondingly keyed surface to thereby be insertable within the socket, the nut being threaded and thereby adapted to be secured to the locking pin.
6. A locking device as claimed at claim 4 or claim 5 wherein the at least one security fixing comprises a socket headed screw having a socket extending into the exposed endface of the screw, the socket comprising an irregularly surfaced interior adapted to cooperate with a tool having a correspondingly keyed surface to thereby be insertable within the socket, the screw being threaded and thereby adapted to be secured to the locking pin.
7. A locking device as claimed at any one of claims 4 to 6 wherein the at least one security fixing is protected by a shroud associated with the locking guard, the security fixing being receivable within the shroud to prevent access to an external surface of the security fixing.
8. A locking device as claimed at claim 7 wherein the shroud extends from a wall of the housing substantially concentrically with a wallaperture within the wall.
9. A locking device as claimed at claim 8 wherein the locking pin is adapted to be inserted through the wallaperture to be lockable within the locking guard.
10. A locking device as claimed at any one of the previous claims wherein the locking guard comprises a base having at least one base aperture and the securing means comprises a bolt adapted to pass through the at least one base aperture to secure the locking guard to the surface.
11. A locking device as claimed at claim 10 wherein access to the securing bolts is prevented by the locking pin when the locking pin is secured within the locking guard.
12. A locking device as claimed at any one of claims 1 to 9 wherein the locking guard comprises a base having at least one base aperture and the securing means comprises an anchoring means receivable within the locking guard through said as least one base aperture adapted to pass through the at least one base aperture to secure the locking guard to the surface.
13. A locking system comprising a locking device as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 12, and a locking pin adapted to be secured to the locking guard by locking means comprising at least one security fixing, said security fixing comprising a keyed socket adapted to be rotated by a correspondingly keyed tool.
14. A trailer securing device adapted to secure a trailer, the trailer comprising a safety linkage associated with a drawbar or a hitching device of the trailer, the safety linkage being arranged to be secured to a fixing, the trailer securing device comprising a hollow elongate member adapted in use to cover the fixing and receive and enclose the safety linkage to thereby prevent unauthorised access to the fixing or the safety linkage, the trailer securing device further comprising locking means adapted to lock the safety linkage into engagement with the fixing to thereby secure the trailer.
15. A trailer securing device as claimed at claim 14 wherein the trailer securing device is adapted to support the drawbar or hitching device of the trailer.
16. A trailer securing device as claimed at claim 14 or claim 15 wherein the trailer securing device further comprises a base adapted to support the hollow member in an upright orientation and to provide cover to the fixing.
17. A trailer securing device as claimed at any one of claims 14 to 16 wherein the trailer securing device further comprises a protection adapted in use to protect the safety linkage in the vicinity of the drawbar or hitching device to thereby prevent unauthorised access to the safety linkage in that area.
18. A trailer securing device as claimed at claim 17 wherein the protection comprises a tongue extending from the hollow member adapted in use to cover the safety linkage in the vicinity of the drawbar or hitching device.
19. A trailer securing device as claimed at any one of claims 14 to 18 wherein the locking means comprises a securable pin adapted to be secured to the hollow elongate member and in use to engage with the safety linkage and the fixing to thereby engage the safety linkage with the fixing.
20. A trailer securing device as claimed at claim 19 wherein the securable pin is removably secured to the hollow member by retaining means.
21. A trailer securing device as claimed at claim 20 wherein the retaining means comprises at least one socket headed security nut.
22. A trailer securing device as claimed at claim 21 wherein each of the at least one socket headed security nut is received within a collar to thereby restrict access to said nut.
23. A trailer securing device as claimed at claim 22 wherein each of the at least one socket headed security nut is removable only by means of a keyed tool.
Description:
"Locking Device"

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a locking device adapted to secure a transportable item. It has particularly been directed to securing trailable vehicles and motorcycles. Nevertheless, it is easily adaptable to securing a much broader range of transportable items and is therefore not limited to these applications.

Background Art

A wide variety of larger transportable items must be stored outdoors in a manner which leaves them readily accessible and therefore the subject of theft. Significant items in this class include trailable vehicles including goods carrying trailers, caravans, and the like and motorcycles and even bicycles. Less obvious are wide range of transportable articles for domestic or commercial use such as portable barbeques and concrete mixers. In many instances it is impractical for the owner of such devices to store them in a secure environment leaving them accessible to potential thieves. While a number of prior art devices have attempted to provide securing means for such devices, they have all had limitations which either prevented them from working effectively or made them inconvenient or impractical for use.

Disclosure of the Invention

Accordingly, the invention resides in a locking device comprising a housing securable relative to a surface by securing means, the locking guard adapted to receive a portion of a locking means adapted to secure an article in association with the surface, a portion of the locking means being receivable within the locking guard to be secured there within by a locking pin, the locking pin adapted to be releasably locked within the locking guard. According to a preferred feature of the invention, the housing encloses the locking pin and the said portion of the locking means.

According to a preferred feature of the invention the locking pin is secured to the locking guard by at least one security fixing.

According to a preferred embodiment, the at least one security fixing comprises a socket headed nut having a socket extending into the exposed end-face of the nut, the socket comprising an irregularly surfaced interior adapted to ' cooperate with a tool having a correspondingly keyed surface to thereby be insertable within the socket, the nut being threaded and thereby adapted to be secured to the locking pin.

According to a preferred embodiment, the at least one security fixing comprises a socket headed screw having a socket extending into the exposed end-face of the screw, the socket comprising an irregularly surfaced interior adapted to cooperate with a tool having a correspondingly keyed surface to thereby be insertable within the socket, the screw being threaded and thereby adapted to be secured to the locking pin.

According to a preferred feature of the invention, access to the securing means is prevented by the locking pin when the locking pin is locked within the locking guard.

According to a preferred feature of the invention the at least one security fixing is protected by a shroud associated with the locking guard, the security fixing being receivable within the shroud to prevent access to an external surface of the security fixing.

According to a preferred embodiment, the shroud extends from a wall of the housing substantially concentrically with a wall-aperture within the wall.

According to a preferred embodiment, the locking pin is adapted to be inserted through the wall-aperture to be lockable within the locking guard. According to a preferred embodiment, the locking guard comprises a base having at least one base aperture and the securing means comprises a bolt adapted to pass through the at least one base aperture to secure the locking guard to the surface.

According to a preferred embodiment, the locking guard comprises a base having at least one base aperture and the securing means comprises an anchoring means receivable within the locking guard through said as least one base aperture adapted to pass through the at least one base aperture to secure the locking guard to the surface.

According to a further aspect, the invention resides in a locking system comprising a locking guard as previously described, and a locking pin adapted to be secured to the locking guard by locking means comprising at least one security fixing, said security fixing comprising a keyed socket adapted to be rotated by a correspondingly keyed tool.

According to a further aspect, the invention resides in a trailer securing device adapted to secure a trailer, the trailer comprising a safety linkage associated with a drawbar or a hitching device of the trailer, the safety linkage being arranged to be secured to a fixing, the trailer securing device comprising a hollow elongate member adapted in use to cover the fixing and receive and enclose the safety linkage to thereby prevent unauthorised access to the fixing or the safety linkage, the trailer securing device further comprising locking means adapted to lock the safety linkage into engagement with the fixing to thereby secure the trailer.

According to a preferred feature of the invention, the trailer securing device is adapted to support the drawbar or hitching device of the trailer.

According to a preferred feature of the invention, the trailer securing device further comprises a base adapted to support the hollow member in an upright orientation and to provide cover to the fixing. - A -

According to a preferred feature of the invention, the trailer securing device further comprises a protection adapted in use to protect the safety linkage in the vicinity of the drawbar or hitching device to thereby prevent unauthorised access to the safety linkage in that area.

According to a preferred embodiment, the protection comprises a tongue extending from the hollow member adapted in use to cover the safety linkage in the vicinity of the drawbar or hitching device.

According to a preferred feature of the invention, the locking means comprises a securable pin adapted to be secured to the hollow member and in use to engage with the safety linkage and the fixing to thereby engage the safety linkage with the fixing.

According to a preferred feature of the invention, the securable pin is removably secured to the hollow member by retaining means.

According to a preferred embodiment, the retaining means comprises at least one socket headed security nut.

According to a preferred embodiment, each of the at least one socket headed security nut is received within a collar to thereby restrict access to said nut.

According to a preferred embodiment, is each of the at least one socket headed security nut is removable only by means of a keyed tool.

The invention will be more fully understood in the light of the following description of several specific embodiments.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The description is made with reference to the accompanying drawings of which: Figure 1 is an isometric view of a locking guard of the first embodiment showing associated components in an "exploded" form;

Figure 2 is a sectional elevation view of the locking guard of Figure 1 showing the locking pin and locking means prior to engagement within the locking guard;

Figure 3 is a sectional elevation view as shown in Figure 4 showing the locking means secured within the locking guard by the locking pin;

Figure 4 is an isometric view of a locking guard of the second embodiment showing associated components in an "exploded" form;

Figure 5 is a sectional elevation view of the locking guard of Figure 4 showing the locking pin, locking means and anchoring means prior to engagement within the locking guard;

Figure 6 is a sectional elevation view as shown in Figure 4 showing the locking means and anchoring means secured within the locking guard by the locking pin;

Figure 7 is a sectional elevation view of the locking guard of a third embodiment showing the locking pin, locking means and anchoring means prior to engagement within the locking guard;

Figure 8 is an elevation view as shown in Figure 7 showing the locking means and anchoring means secured within the locking guard by the locking pin;

Figure 9 is an isometric view of a trailer securing device according to the fourth embodiment in proximity to the drawbar of a trailer and a fixing;

Figure 10 is a section through the fourth embodiment as shown in Figure 9 showing the embodiment in use; Figure 11 is a section through a fifth embodiment showing the embodiment in use.

Detailed Description of Specific Embodiment

The first embodiment of the invention is directed to a locking device suitable for securing transportable devices. The first embodiment is described with reference to Figures 1 , 2 and 3 of the Drawings.

As shown in the Figures 1 to 3, the locking device of the embodiment, comprises a housing which forms a locking guard 11 adapted to protect the various components from being damaged or tampered with by a potential thief. The locking guard 11 of the embodiment comprises a generally cuboidal shaped housing 12 made of steel plate or other material adapted to resist attack by a thief. The housing 12 comprises a base 21 , a pair of side walls 22, a pair of end walls 23, and a partial covering 24 of the upper face leaving a central opening 25 to enable locking means to be inserted into the housing. Centrally located end apertures 26 penetrate through the end walls 23 and these end aperture 26s are each surrounded by a protective shroud 27 concentrically aligned with the respective aperture 26.

A pair of base apertures 28 penetrate through the base 21 to receive securing bolts 29 adapted to be secured to a suitable mounting base.

The central opening 25 of housing 12 is adapted to receive locking means which in the embodiment is shown as high tensile chain 14. Other locking means such as steel bars are also practicable in many instances. The opening 25 is adapted to receive both ends of the chain 14 so that the chain 14 may be looped around the device to be secured. The end links of the chain 14 are adapted to be aligned such that the apertures through them are aligned with the apertures 26 in the end walls 23.

In use, a locking pin 16 is inserted through an aperture 26 in one of the end walls 23 to pass through each of the end links of the chain 14 and be received within the aperture 26 in the other end wall 23. A security fixing in the form of a socket headed security nut 17 is then threadably secured to at least one of the ends of the locking pin and tightened by a suitable tool security tool.

In the embodiment as shown in the drawings, both end pf the locking pin are secured with such security nuts 17. A suitable security nut comprises a hollow depression within the outer surface transverse to the axis of rotation of the nut when being applied to a threaded pin or bolt, the depression having an irregularly surfaced interior. A key with a compatible irregular surface is inserted into the socket of the nut and force applied to tighten or loosen the nut threaded on the locking pin. Such socket headed security nuts are used in the automotive field to secure vehicle wheels and have been found to be very effective in preventing removal by unauthorised persons, and thus preventing theft. Use of such nuts in the present application is therefore easily accommodated. Where two security nuts are used, they may be keyed alike so that an operator does not have to determine which is the correct tool before use. Alternatively, the security nuts may be keyed differently so that security is enhanced, by requiring the correct pair of security tools to match the pair of nuts provided. When the security nuts are tightened, they are fully housed within the shrouds 27. The shrouds 27 have an inner diameter only a little greater than the outer diameter of the security nuts so that it is not possible to apply a tool around the external, cylindrical surface of the security nuts.

Importantly, once the locking pin is secured in position, it is impossible to access the securing bolts 29 because the locking pin 16 passes directly above the bolt heads 30. The securing bolts 29 are even inaccessible when the chain 14 is locked in position. By selection of appropriate materials for the locking guard 11 , the securing bolts 29, the locking pin 16 and the locking chain 14, the secured device can be made virtually unassailable by implements ordinarily used by thieves. For instance chain may be selected that is sufficiently hard that it could only be cut by large sized bolt cutters. Such bolt cutters are difficult to conceal and therefore are rarely carried by thieves. In use, the housing is bolted to an appropriate surface with suitable high tensile securing bolts 29. In a fixed, outdoor environment the surface may typically comprise the surface of a concrete slab, with lock nuts received in holes in the concrete corresponding to the base apertures 28. When bolted to such a concrete slab, the locking guard 11 is effectively resistant to any reasonable attack. As mentioned above, when the locking pin is secured within the locking guard 11 , the securing bolts 29 are inaccessible, even if the chain 14 is not present. Thus the locking guard is secured even when it is not being used to secure a device.

Alternatively, the surface may be located on a mobile vehicle, such as a trailer. The securing bolts 29 may be bolted to a frame member so that they are completely inaccessible other than through the central opening 25 of the upper face of the housing. Thus the device may be secured to the trailer, by the locking device of the embodiment, the trailer being secured by other means. This would be particularly suitable where it is preferable to leave the secured device on the trailer, for instance where it is inconvenient or not practicable to take the secured device from the trailer.

It will be appreciated that the locking guard of the embodiment may be secured to the surface by alternative means to the securing bolts 29 described. For instance, it may be appropriate to secure the locking guard to the surface by welding.

A second embodiment is described which provides a means of securing the locking means 14 relative to a surface when it is not possible secure the locking guard to that surface by bolts, in the manner described in relation to the first embodiment. The second embodiment is illustrated in Figures 4, 5 and 6. The second embodiment is substantially identical to the first embodiment and so in the drawings a part of the second embodiment which correspond with the same part in the first embodiment is denoted by the same numeral. The second embodiment differs from the first embodiment by the addition of a further aperture 31 in the base 21 of the locking guard 12. The further aperture 31 is in the form of a crossed slot having a transverse slot 32 intermediately disposed between the apertures 28 and a longitudinal slot 33 bisecting the transverse slot 32. The further aperture 31 permits the entry of an anchoring means into the locking guard to be locked in relation to the locking means 14. As shown in the Figures 4 to 6, the anchoring means may take the form of chain 19 which, in use, might be anchored to ground by suitable securing means, such as being secured to a buried concrete block. The crossed slot aperture enables the first link of the chain to pass through the transverse slot 32 to be oriented transversely relative to the locking pin 16. The longitudinal slot 33 enables the second link to enter the locking guard, as required. In use, when located in position, the locking pin is passed through the first link of the anchoring chain 19 as well as the chain of the locking means 14 thereby locking the locking means 14 to the anchoring chain 19. The locking mechanism of this locking arrangement is thereby protected from attack by the locking guard.

It may be noted that, in the case of the second embodiment, the locking guard is not required to withstand the primary stress loading where a tensile stress is exerted upon the locking means 14 as this is transmitted from the locking means 14 to the locking pin 16 and thereby to the anchoring chain 19. This is in contrast to the first embodiment where primary stress under such loading is transmitted from the locking pin 16 to the locking guard 12, itself.

It will be appreciated the anchoring means may take a form other than chain, for example it might be a steel bar having an aperture adjacent an exposed end. In use, the steel bar would be anchored to the ground and the locking guard placed over the exposed end, the end passing through the transverse slot 32. It will also be appreciated that the further aperture 31 may take a form other than the crossed slot to accommodate an alternative anchoring means.

A third embodiment is shown in Figures 7 and 8 which adopts the adaptation mentioned in the previous paragraph. This embodiment is identical to the second embodiment except for the use of the anchoring bar 49. The anchoring bar 49 comprises an upstanding, generally plate like panel adapted to pass through the aperture 32 and is provided an aperture 48 to receive the locking pin 16. The anchoring bar 49 is also provided with a pair of toe members welded to the anchoring bar 49 transverse to the anchoring bar 49. A gap is provided between the two toe members 47 which enables anchoring bolts 45 to be installed into suitable anchoring sockets 46 in a solid base such as concrete. Clearly, when the locking guard 11 is in place, these anchoring bolts are inaccessible. The anchoring bar 49 has the advantage that the aperture 48 to receive the locking pin 16 is held at the correct height, making installation of the locking pin 16 simpler.

The embodiments may be adapted in other ways. For instance, each shroud may extend inwardly from a respective end wall 23 so that the external face of the end wall is planar, and the security nuts are held within the cuboidal body of the housing 12. In another adaptation, alternative pin securing means may be selected rather than the security nuts 17 described. A pair of security screws might be used rather than nuts. Such screws might have security socket heads similar to those described in relation to the security nuts. However, such screws would be adapted to screw into threaded apertures provided in the ends of the locking pin.

It would be possible to provide a pair of apertures in one of the shrouds 27 with a corresponding aperture transversely through the locking pin. The shackle of a padlock could be passed through such apertures to secure the pin in position. However, it is well known that such an arrangement is far more vulnerable to attack by thieves than that proposed in the embodiment.

A fourth embodiment of the invention is directed to a trailer securing device adapted to support the drawbar of the trailer in a secure manner. The fourth embodiment of the invention is illustrated in Figures 9 and 10.

Trailers of the type being discussed usually comprise a drawbar arrangement extending forwardly of the vehicle. The most commonly drawbar is an 'A' frame comprising 2 arms extending forwardly from the forward edge of the trailer body to meet at a central apex. Often one or more reinforcement members extend transversely intermediate the forward edge of the trailer body and the central apex. A trailer hitching device 112 is mounted in the vicinity of the central apex. The trailer hitching device is adapted to engage a corresponding towing hitching device disposed on the rear of the towing vehicle. In some trailers, the drawbar comprises a simple longitudinally aligned member 111 (as shown in Figure 9) extending forwardly from the forward edge of the trailer body (not shown). In general the invention is applicable to all such arrangement commonly used.

By far the most common hitching arrangement for trailers of GVM up to 3 tonnes is a ball hitch mounted on the towing vehicle and a corresponding socket hitch mounted on the trailer, although this is not essential to the embodiment. In most jurisdictions, it is mandatory to link a safety chain between the trailer and the towing vehicle when in use. Thus one or two chains 114 are usually attached to the drawbar in the vicinity of the hitching device 112. Where two chains are provided, these usually extend from vertical faces of the drawbar 111 or associated with the trailer hitching device 112. Where one chain is provided it is usually hangs from one or other side relative to the trailer hitching device 112. It will be seen below that the embodiments utilizes this chain to secure the trailer.

The embodiment discloses a trailer security device 121 comprising an elongate hollow member 22 open at both ends and fixed to a base 123 adapted to support the hollow member 22 in an upright orientation. The hollow member 122 is constructed from a material with sufficient strength to support the weight of the drawbar when rested upon the upper end of the hollow member and more importantly to resist attack by thieves. Steel is seen as the most preferred material from the balance of strength and economy, although it would be possible to use a hollow member made from other materials. In the embodiment, the hollow member is provided from standard rectangular hollow section (RHS) steel. The base 123 comprises an inverted dish-like member, also preferably of steel having a lower perimeter 125 of the base 123, the perimeter 125 being adapted to contact and be supported by flat ground. The base 123 is dished upwardly from the perimeter region to rigidly engage the sides of the hollow member 122, which is thereby centrally disposed relative to the perimeter of the base 123. While in the embodiment shown in Figure 9, the base is of generally square profile as shown in the plan view, it will be appreciated that the profile might be of an alternative shape such as circular, rectangular or even elliptical.

In a preferred manner of construction, the base 123 is stamped from steel sheet to thereby provide a central aperture with a profile corresponding to the profile of the hollow member 122. The hollow member 122 is obtained from stock RHS steel and is inserted through the aperture in the base 123. The base is then welded to the sides of the hollow member 122.

The hollow member 122 extends through the base so that the lower end of the hollow member 122 is co-planar with the perimeter 125. As a consequence, the axial load provided by the weight of the drawbar applied via the longitudinal axis of the drawbar will be shared by both the hollow member bearing on the ground and the base bearing on the ground. In the event of excessive load being applied, it is envisaged that the base would elastically deform slightly so that the end of the hollow section would bear most of the weight. The dished shape of the base ensures that the device can also resist a reasonable lateral or tilting loading.

The security device 121 also comprises a protective tongue 131 extending from the upper end of the hollow member 121 to extend the length of one side. In the embodiment, the tongue 131 comprises a steel plate of substantially the same width as the width of side of the RHS steel hollow member 122, the tongue 131 being welded to a one side of the hollow member 122 to thereby extend that side. The security device 121 further comprises locking means 141. In the embodiment, the locking means 141 is provided by a steel pin 142 received through a pair of corresponding apertures in opposed sides of the RHS hollow member 122. The apertures are disposed upwardly a little from the base 123. On the external face of the RHS hollow member 122, the apertures are surrounded by protective steel collars 144 welded to the hollow member 122. The collars 144 have an internal diameter selected to just receive a suitable socket headed nut 145 and a length sufficient to fully enclose the nut when appropriately tightened.

In the embodiment, the socket headed nuts 145 are selected from such nuts that are commonly used to secure decorative wheel rims for automotive use. Such nuts are available with sockets having a range of non-standard profiles. Once tightened they are virtually impossible to untighten without use of the special tool and have thus been found to be an effective protection against the theft of the wheels for which they have been designed to be used. It is believed that such nuts are therefore most suitable for the present application.

The trailer security device is adapted to be used with a suitable fixing fixed to the ground. In the embodiment the fixing comprises an eye-bolt 151 having a threaded shank 152 received within a threaded socket secured within the ground. Such arrangements are well known and readily installed into concrete often used as the parking platform for the trailer. The threaded socket can alternatively be fixed in a post or mooring buried in the ground where concrete slab is not available. Such fixings can typically withstand a load of many tonnes and therefore are practically unbreakable in the normal theft situation. They also have the advantage that they can easily be removed when not required so that they do not present a hazard extending from the ground that a passer by might trip over. The threaded socket can be plugged when not in use to prevent ingress of dirt.

In use, as better shown in Figure 10, the lower end of the hollow member 122 is adapted to be positioned over the eye-bolt 151 of the fixing. The apertures are configured to be aligned with the aperture of the eye-bolt 151 so that the steel pin 142 is adapted to pass through the aperture of the eye-bolt 151 when inserted through both of the apertures in the hollow member 122. The drawbar 111 of the trailer or the hitching means is rested on the upper end of the hollow member, and the chain 114, if only one, or one of the chains 114, is guided into the hollow of the hollow member 122. Generally, such chains are sufficiently long to fall below the apertures of the locking means 141. Where this is not so the chain needs to be extended by securing an additional length of chain with a suitable shackle. The steel pin 142 is then passed through both a link of the chain 114 and the aperture of the eye-bolt 151 and secured with the socket- headed nuts. Also, the securing device is positioned so that the tongue 141 extends on the side of the hitching device 112 or drawbar 111 from which the chain 114 extends.

As a result of this configuration, the trailer is very securely fixed to the ground in a manner whereby the fixing 151 is effectively protected against damage by a thief. By using the safety chain 114 of the trailer as the primary fixing means, the configuration makes use of a device that is necessarily attached to the trailer in an extremely strong manner yet allows flexible and easy attachment to the fixing 151. The use of the hollow member 122 to receive the chain thereby provides simple but effective protection to the chain while also acting as the support for the drawbar so that the trailer is rested in a reasonably level orientation. The provision of the tongue 131 further adds protection by preventing access to the chain 14 above the hollow member from one side while the drawbar or hitching means itself usually provides protection from the other side. The actual fixing 151 in the ground is doubly protected from attack, firstly by the base but also by the lower end of the hollow member. The fixing is effectively unbreakable by ordinary thieves.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that the embodiment may be varied in may ways while not departing from character of the invention. Clearly, tubular steel pipe may be used rather than RHS steel. A wide range of alternative locking means may be adapted to suit the device. The embodiment may be used with a range of fixings other than an eye-bolt, such as a ring secured to the ground adapted to swivel in to an upright orientation when in use and to lay flat in a depression when not in use. The hollow member might be provided with a second tongue extending from the opposed side to that of the first tongue, although this configuration might limit the range of trailers to which a particular securing device might be used.

Figure 11 illustrates a fifth embodiment which is a further adaptation of the fourth embodiment. The fifth embodiment is substantially identical to the fourth embodiment so in the drawing, like numerals are used to depict like parts. In the fifth embodiment, the eyebolt 151 is replaced with a anchoring bar 49 similar to the foot member described in relation to the third embodiment as shown in Figures 7 and 8. Use of the anchoring bar 49 enables the hole to be positioned more readily at the correct height and orientation when compared to the eyebolt. The slotted toed member allow the anchoring bar 49 to be easily installed or removed with the locking bolts in position.

Many other adaptations are possible. It is to be appreciated that all such adaptations are to be considered to fall within the scope of the present invention.

It should nevertheless be appreciated that the scope of the present invention need not be limited to the particular scope of the embodiments described above.

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the word "comprise" or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.