Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Helping to keep out Morpeth garden raiders

A NEW scheme has been launched to scare off the burglars from Morpeth residents' gardens.
Free shed alarms are available to people in the town as part of the £1,000 funding from the former Castle Morpeth Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) put aside for security equipment. It is hoped the devices will reduce thefts of gardening tools, including from the sheds of flood victims moving back or who have yet to return to their homes. Former Community Safety Officer for the Castle Morpeth CDRP John Gray, who now works for the Northumberland County Council Community Safety Team, said: "This scheme was one of the last initiatives the Borough CDRP did before the change in local government. We came up with it to give reassurance to residents affected by the flood who are going back home or have yet to do so. The alarms have also been given to the Police for distribution to residents as the gardening season has started and with the lighter evenings as well this is one of the peak times for thefts from garden sheds. Morpeth has a low crime rate and this scheme is part of our efforts to ensure it continues."
The alarm gives off a loud siren noise to alert homeowners and neighbours. Morpeth Police Community Support Officer Matt Leonard said: "These alarms are very effective and an excellent way to reduce the amount of gardening tools being stolen so we hope residents who need one ask for them. Some of them have been given to County Community Wardens for the North area, who will take them on their patrols of the town. Warden Norman Morton said: "We have found them to be useful in the other places we have given the alarms out because they do give burglars a massive scare. They will be very important for people hit by the flood because some could have put other items in the shed as well as gardening tools. Those who would like an alarm can contact Morpeth Police on 03456 043043, or call at the station in Castle Square.

(Reproduced from the Morpeth Herald, 27th May)

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Rubery police investigate theft of lawn mower

RUBERY police are investigating the theft of a large lawn mower stolen from a property in Lickey, West Midlands.
The Honda rotary lawn mower, worth around £635, was taken between Thursday, May 14 and Saturday, May 16, from a shed in the garden of a house in Monument Lane.
Police say it is likely, after being taken, the mower was carried from a field adjacent to the property to a waiting vehicle parked in Monument Lane. Police are appealing for anyone who saw a large mower being loaded into the back of a van or other large vehicle in the area, to give them a call.
Anyone with information can call Rubery police on 0300 333 3000 or crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from the Bromsgrove Advertiser, May 27th)

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Garden gnome theft sparks police appeal

A GARDEN gnome was stolen from an address in Winyates, Redditch.
The gnome was taken between 10pm on Thursday, May 14 and 11am the next day from a garden in Winstone Close. It is described as an old-fashioned gnome with an Irish coat, sitting on a mushroom.
It had recently been painted white and had a bright blue nose, said to be slightly bashed.
A police spokesman said: “This is a distinctive item and would have been extremely heavy to move. The owner has had the gnome for more than 25 years and so it has great sentimental value.
“We are appealing to anyone who feels they may have seen it to give Redditch police a call on 0300 333 3000.”

(Reproduced from the Redditch Advertiser, 26th May)

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bike thefts threaten Cycling City

When Bristol was named as the UK's first Cycling City in 2008, it received £11m of government funding to promote bicycle usage. Plans were eagerly drawn up to expand cycle paths and double the number of regular cyclists in the city.
However, statistics acquired by BBC News show that all is not as tranquil as it seems. Rates of bike theft in the city remain stubbornly at more than twice the UK average. And thefts of high-value bicycles - worth more than £1,000 - is up 20% on 2008.
Jules Brown is a victim of one of those thefts. His £1,600 mountain bike was stolen when thieves ripped his garage door off its hinges.
"The garage was reinforced with a steel plate. The man who fitted it did not know how so much force was applied," he said.
"Oliver", has become highly security conscious since his £3,500 bike was stolen from his Redland home. He has chosen to withhold his surname and he even took five minutes to satisfy himself of my identity before he would talk.
"Thieves smashed a hole through the asbestos roof of my garage," he said.
Even as the burglar alarm was ringing, they set to work with an angle-grinder and bolt croppers. They had escaped before Oliver could reach his front door.
"I now secure my bikes to an inch-thick steel bracket fixed with dead-head bolts," he said.
It is the sense of being singled out for owning an expensive bike that worries many of the victims.
"I feel paranoid," said Robert Przemioslo, whose £5,500 racing bike was taken in January 2009.
"They must have known it was there. There is no road access to my house so the thief would have had to climb over six garden walls with the bike to get away. This is not normal."
Anthony Piper, manager of Psyclewerx, explained that targeted thefts like these are probably well thought out.
"People get followed back from the cycle tracks. I tell customers to drive in a loop a few times before heading home if they have got bikes on the back of their car.
"There is clearly a second-hand market for these bikes - these criminals know exactly what is valuable."

(Reproduced from BBC News, Bristol, 22nd May 2009)

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Aylesbury Vale police: Follow a few simple steps to avoid becoming a victim of crime

With warmer weather on the way, police are urging people to follow a few simple steps to avoid becoming victims of crime.
If you are working in your garden, make sure that areas of your house that you cannot see from the garden are fully secure, reducing the risk of a quick visit from any opportunist burglars.
Lock away garden tools when you have finished with them inside a shed or garage where possible.

(Extracted from the Bucks Herald, 22nd May)

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Is your garden insured for the increased risk of theft?

As crazy as it may sound there has been a significant increase in garden thefts since the recession hit home and many homeowners are finding they are severely under-insured. We are talking about thieves breaking into sheds and stealing expensive equipment as well as thieves stealing expensive shrubs, plants and even freshly laid lawns. So are you fully covered? The vast majority of people in the UK automatically assume that their home insurance will cover their garden when in the majority of cases this is not correct. It is essential that you check the small print on your home insurance contract and if any significant equipment is retained in your garden then you should approach the likes of Churchill and Lloyds Bank. These two offer specific garden insurance to ensure you're able to replace any stolen equipment, trees, conservatories, shrubs, lawns or anything else located in your garden. In general it can be a big mistake, and potentially very expensive, to automatically assume that your insurance policies cover every scenario and every possible event. If in doubt you need to check with your insurance company to see if certain events and items are specifically covered; otherwise you could be seriously out of pocket if the worst comes to the worst.

(Reproduced from May 22nd)

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Garden crime in the Thames Valley

At about 11:15am on Tuesday 19th, offenders gained entry to an insecure summer house, in the rear garden of a premise in Hughenden Avenue, High Wycombe. Two offenders were seen to enter the summerhouse and leave carrying property. A vehicle CD player in a red and white box was stolen.
Between Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th, offenders have gained entry to a stable in Old Dashwood Hill, Studley Green, by smashing the door lock.
A horse box on site was also broken into and property including a number of horse rugs, bridles, horse food, food bins, a blue coloured Ifor Williams tack box, and a wheelbarrow were stolen.

(Extracted from a crime report on This Is Local London, May 22nd)

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yobs steal widows' treasures

Thieves have stolen ornaments with great sentimental value from the gardens of two widows in Cotmanhay leaving them devastated.
The yobs took gnomes and a bird bath, which have little value to anyone else from the gardens on Marsh Avenue and Ebenezer Street last Friday night. Pauline Ogden, 64, who collects garden ornaments, has been unable to sleep following the theft and damage to her garden and says she now feels vulnerable on her own. Mrs Ogden discovered the damage when she woke up on Saturday, May 9. She said: "I am heartbroken – the things they've taken aren't worth a lot of money but they were presents from my late husband and daughter and mean a lot sentimentally." I haven't been able to sleep and I haven't felt able to go out, apart from to go to the police station. I don't like being on my own when I think I'm being targeted and my legs have come out in a rash because of the stress." Beryl Webberley, 72, who had a large stone birdbath that she bought with her late husband taken, said: "My son has kindly bought me a new one but he's said he's going to concrete it in. " She said that the bird bath, which had distinctive stone figures of a hedgehog and a mouse on the base, was very heavy and must have taken at least two people to carry it. Anyone with information about the March Avenue theft, which took place between 10pm on Friday, May 8, and 7am the following morning, and the Ebenezer Street theft, which took place between 8pm and 1am on Saturday May 9, should call Derbyshire Police on 0345 123 33 33

(Reproduced from the Ilkeston Advertiser, May 21st)

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Youngster "heart broken" after bike theft

A SIX-YEAR-OLD boy was left devastated this week after thieves stole his new bike.
Kian Lunniss’s bike was taken between 9pm on May 12 and 8am the following day from his home on Bossington Drive in Taunton.
His mother, Michaela Webber, said: “There seems to be a lot of it in the area at the minute.
“The bike was a late Christmas present and he absolutely loved it and would ride it every day.
“When he found out he was devastated and kept asking if his bike had been found.
“It also made everyday chores like going to the shop a lot easier as I’m pregnant and have a child in a buggy so could just let Kian ride alongside me but now it’s going to be more awkward.”
She added: “I’m hoping someone saw who took it or knows where it may be.
“We thought the bike was safe as it was in our closed garden. Thieves would have to come right into the garden and it was hidden away – they must have been watching and known it was there.”
The partner of Kian’s grandmother, David Webster, added: “Kian was absolutely heart broken.
“He finds it hard to comprehend how people can be so cruel - because cruel it is.
“If thieves possess a minute sense of conscience they will return the bike.”
The bike is a black and red Apollo child’s mountain bike.
Anyone with information should contact Michaela on 07922570512 or e-mail

(Reproduced from Somerset County Gazette, May 21st)

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Spate of garden ornament thefts across Waverley, Surrey

PEOPLE in Waverley are being warned to keep an eye on their garden ornaments after a spate of thefts became the latest crime wave to hit the borough.
Between last Thursday and Saturday (May 14 to 16), thieves targeted four homes and stole items including a 4ft statue of a boy in a hat sitting on a rock, worth £1,500.
An urn was taken from a front garden in Dye House Road, Thursley, and two waist-high stone flower pots were stolen in Farnham. In both incidents the thieves dumped the plants and soil at the scene.
The thieves also hit the Cranleigh area, taking eight decorative stones from outside a house in Norley Lane, Shamley Green, and the statue of the boy from outside a house in Cranleigh Road, Wonersh.
Waverley Crime Reduction Advisor John Robini said “Valuable ornaments in front gardens can be an attractive target for opportunistic thieves, so householders should take every measure available to keep them safe,” he added.
“You can help to deter criminals by staying vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity.”
Anyone with any information on the thefts, or who has seen the ornaments on sale, can contact Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222. Alternatively, give information in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from Get Surrey, May 20th)

GARDIEN TIP: See our advice on Outdoor Items and Garden Antiques at

Sweet-toothed burglar in Worthing

A BURGLAR with a sweet tooth broke into a house using a garden fork and stole mobile phones and a computer console. The break-in happened in Orchard Avenue, Tarring, between 8.30am and 3.30pm on Thursday, May 14. The burglar used a garden fork to open a window at the back of the house before climbing inside. Before the burglar stole two mobile phones and a PlayStation, police say he tried to open a sweet tin!
Anyone with information about this crime can contact police on 0845 6070 999, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

(Reproduced from Midhurst and Petworth Observer, May 20th)

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chelsea Flower Show - don’t be the next victim of garden theft

The Chelsea Flower Show is underway and many a budding gardener will be venturing into the garden but expensive garden tools and furniture can be a goldmine for garden thieves.
Even if you’re not the green fingered type, as points out, as we hope for a hot summer many gardens will start to be filled with barbeques and patio furniture.
The message is though to try and take some precautions to protect your garden equipment and
make sure you have appropriate home insurance in place just in case you are the unfortunate victim of garden theft
In terms of precautions to take against garden theft, suggestions include
Keep valuable items, including lawnmowers, bikes and BBQ’s out of site and locked away
Deter thieves by adding security lighting and high prickly hedges
Deter thieves by becoming a member of the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme
You can also mark your valuable items using ultraviolet pens so that if stolen but recovered by police you can identify them.
With home insurance you need to ensure that the policy you have provides you with the insurance cover you need for the contents both in and outside your home.
Darren Black, head of Home Insurance at said ‘While some insurers include garden cover as standard, others offer it as an add on.’
It is therefore important to shop around for your home insurance and make sure you get the cover you need for any garden tools and furniture you have.

(Reproduced from

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Arrests made after Headland crime spree

POLICE have made a number of arrests in connection with an early morning crime spree.
The suspects were detained after officers acted on tip-offs from the public and are being questioned. The Mail reported yesterday how homes and cars across the Headland area of Hartlepool were targeted in one morning. Among the belongings taken were a 13ft kayak from the back garden of a house in Winston Court and two mountain bikes from a garden in Marine Drive. Acting Chief Inspector Mick Brown, of Hartlepool Police, said up to seven people had been arrested. He added: "These arrests were made as a result of CID working in conjunction with uniformed officers and members of the public. "We are delighted with the response of the public and would like to reassure them that these matters are treated very seriously."
Police are still appealing for information and are urging callers to telephone Hartlepool Police on (01642) 326326.

(Reproduced from the Hartlepool Mail, 19th May)

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Canaries stolen in Lancing bird theft

A COUPLE from Lancing have been left devastated by the theft of 30 pet birds from their garden.
Frank and Risha Brownbridge, of Freshfield Road, woke up on Friday, May 8, to find their canaries missing from the garden aviary. Mrs Brownbridge said all of the birds were taken, apart from two babies and the eggs, which were waiting to hatch.
"Without the hens, we have lost 24 eggs, because they were just too cold," she said."We were hand feeding the babies, but, sadly, one has since died," she said.
She added that keeping the birds was her husband's hobby, and that they "were his life"."We are up and down at the moment. I am going through the weepy stage. "There were too many to all have names, but we knew who was who. A further 21 canaries were stolen from a home in Clun Road, Littlehampton, on the same night.
Canaries can be worth between £10 and £25 each, and police have said that the crimes could be the work of "professional bird thieves". Sgt Peter Allan, of Littlehampton Police, said: "They are particularly sad crimes, because of the affect they have had. "These are older people, for whom the birds were a large part of their lives." Anyone with information should call PC Charley Robertson on 0845 60 70 999.

(Reproduced from West Sussex Gazette, 18th May)

GARDIEN TIP: Pets should be regarded as valuables and protected accordingly. Security lighting, a noisy intruder alarm, or CCTV would deter most thieves.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Police hunt for plant thieves

Light “green” fingered plant thieves have left an Ipswich couple devastated after stealing a shrub from their garden. Patricia Meyer had been in hospital when her large terracotta pot holding a pink Rhododendron was stolen from her Stone Lodge Lane front garden. Police are also investigating a similar theft in Gippeswyk Avenue, Ipswich where a Rohdodendron bush was dug up and stolen from a front garden on Thursday May 7. Mrs Meyer, 65, said: “It's despicable really. I'm not so concerned about the plant and pot being taken as they can be replaced, but it's the thought of someone coming onto our property. “My husband had been visiting me at the hospital and he realised, when he got home, something was not quite right.” Mrs Meyer said her garden was surrounded by railings, and believed the thieves must have taken the potted bush away in a vehicle as it was very heavy. “It seems they had a car parked up as the shingle had been disturbed. It's unbelievable.” She said her two remaining pots were chained down to prevent thefts, but even their security light had not deterred the criminals from taking the terracotta pot, with lion shaped handles, which disguised a drain cover. Suffolk Police are linking the two thefts and asked anyone with information to telephone Sgt Roger Salmon at South West Ipswich Safer Neighbourhood Team on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from the Ipswich Evening Star, May 17th)

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cops advise Sandwell shed safety

SANDWELL residents are being urged to stay extra vigilant after an increase in shed and allotment burglaries.
Police say summer months traditionally see a rise in thefts from gardens and sheds due to the lighter evenings and warmer weather - and are advising residents to take several measures to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
These include putting all tools and equipment out of view, ensuring all outside sheds and storage cupboards are securely locked when not in use and bringing tools inside after use.
Other tips include using suitable plants to protect garden boundaries, installing security lighting, burglar alarms, photographing valuable plants and ornaments, postcoding property and making sure fences are in good condition.
Crime Reduction Officer, Dawn Cooper, said: “If you have a shed in your garden, just think about how much it would cost to replace the tools and property stored inside. By following the advice, you can significantly reduce the chance of becoming a victim.”
For more crime prevention advice please visit or call 0845 113 5000 and ask to speak to your local Crime Reduction Officer.

(Reproduced from Halesowen News 17th May)

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Battle crime round-up

Amongst this week's round-up of crimes committed in the Battle area in Sussex were the following items

A HEDGE cutter, strimmer and chainsaw were stolen from a barn at a farm in Main Road, Westfield, overnight on May 7-8. Noises were heard at around 11pm and the incident was reported to police the following morning at 8.10am.

POLICE were called to Beauport Park in Hastings Road following reports that three men were trying to steal a horsebox trailer. The incident happened at around 9.10am on Saturday. A St Leonards man was later arrested and charged with theft. He was released on bail until May 19.

THIEVES stole a yellow compactor from a garden in Balcombe Green, Sedlescombe between 11.30pm on Friday May 1 and 10.15am the next day. They also attempted to break into a garden shed at the property.

If you have information on any of these crimes, call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999

GARDIEN TIP: See the variety of free advice available at

Tributes to tragic youngster stolen

A Telford couple have been left devastated after thieves took 16 years’ worth of garden ornaments collected in memory of their daughter.
Michele and Samuel Speers, of Coronation Drive, Donnington, created the garden as a tribute to their daughter Bridie, who died of cerebral palsy in 1993, aged two.
Now raiders have taken items including a large sandstone figure of a girl on her knees and a grey stone angel.
Michele Speers said everything in the garden, including the plants, reminded her husband and their three other children of Bridie who would have been 18 in July.
She said: “We called it Bridie’s garden. All the ornaments were bought by me or my husband or other family member for Bridie’s birthdays and other special dates in her life.
“Everything, even little things have been taken. The only thing not taken was the fountain because it’s too big.
“But a little girl on top of it has. That’s how we noticed. My husband said, it looked like someone had tried to take it but then he said ‘never mind that, what about the rest of it’ and we realised the garden had been cleared.
“These ornaments will be worthless to sell, but they meant everything to us. We were going to do something really big for her 18th but it would just feel like starting all over.”
The raiders struck between Thursday morning and Saturday afternoon.
Other items taken include a white stone birdbath with angels on the base, a grey stone cherub, a grey stone angel with a child, a black stone fairy, a brown stone pot with candle and verse, and a mix of other stone angels and cherubs.
Telford Police spokeswoman Denise Wakefield said: “The victim is extremely distressed by the theft and is desperate to get the ornaments back.
“If you have any information about the theft – whether you saw anything suspicious around the time of the theft, or whether you have been offered such items for sale – we would like to hear from you.”
Police at Telford can be contacted on 0300 333 3000 or information can be passed on confidentially through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111

(Reproduced from the Shropshire Star May 13th)

GARDIEN TIP: Property marking or Forensic DNA should be used on all items of value - see our advice at

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

With garden theft rising, how do you know whether you are protected if your visitors turn out to be more light-fingered than greenfingered?

The Chelsea Flower show opens next week, and will prompt more people to get out and spend money on their gardens. But with garden theft rising, how do you know whether you are protected if your visitors turn out to be more light-fingered than greenfingered?
"Burglary is increasing, and gardens are a soft target," said Bill Seddon, managing director of garden security group Gardien. "Generally, insurers' requirements ensure that houses are pretty burglar-proof, but often anyone can get into your garden, break into the shed and take things," he added.
Mr Seddon said that thieves often target heavy items such as expensive garden trees and shrubs, shed contents, and even newly turfed lawns – which can be rolled up again and sold on. His website, , sells devices such as rootball anchors, which claim to protect plants against being stolen. It also sells security lights.
If the worst should happen, most people assume that damage to their gardens will be covered under their home insurance. However, this is not always the case, and different policies have very different exclusions and limits.
Patios, conservatories, outbuildings, sheds, garden walls, fences, hedges and gates will usually be covered under the buildings part of your household insurance, because they are classed as fixtures and fittings. Moveable objects, however, count under your contents insurance. That includes garden furniture and equipment.
Darren Black, head of insurance at financial comparison site, said: "You should always check your policy as they vary very widely. For example, Churchill covers garden loss but only up to £250. Lloyds TSB Options cover includes £2,000 of garden cover as standard but this will not include your lawn if that gets stolen."
Other exclusions from many policies include plants in pots, such as expensive olive trees, and ride-on mowers – so it always pays to check whether the cover you have is suitable for your circumstances.
According to Saga, the average cost of replacing items stolen from gardens is £378, although some large gardens may contain more valuable items. A spokesman for the insurer said that the top five garden claims are; damage from storms, theft, malicious damage, impact (for example from a car), and accidental damage.
Some popular insurers will only offer cover for your garden as a separate add-on to your policy. Saga, for example, offers garden cover for an extra £30 a year, which includes plants, shrubs, vegetables, turf and lawns, rockeries, tools, equipment and furniture. The policy will also cover damage caused by theft, damage by smoke, fire, vandals and wild animals.
eHome, another popular insurer, will add on garden cover for £25, and will pay up to £2,500 if you need to have your garden relandscaped after a fire. Kwik Fit insurance includes garden claims of up to £500 in its standard cover, but you can buy one or two tiers of extra cover if you need it. Tier one cover is an extra £35, while tier 2 cover is an extra £50. Tier 1 will cover you up to £1,500, Tier 2 takes the cover up to £2,500 – necessary only for those with the very largest gardens.
Halifax offers up to £500 for replacement of stolen plants, trees and shrubs and a further £500 for garden furniture, ornaments and barbecues. Contents stolen from garages, outbuildings and greenhouses are covered up to £2,000. Insurers pay separately for items stolen from a shed or outbuilding, but this usually only applies when the building has been securely locked and forced entry is evident.
Choosing what cover is right for your garden is more than a matter of checking your insurer's small print. The first thing to do is assess how much cover you need. The Gardien website has a printable inventory which may prompt you to remember all items in your garden – including often forgotten extras like statues, bird tables and patio stones.
"People are gobsmacked when they fill it in," said Mr Seddon, at Gardien. "They just don't realise how much everything in their garden is worth until they add it up."
Some large items, such as ride-on mowers, may need to be listed separately in your insurance policy. If you have very expensive statues or antiques in your garden, even this may not be enough. In this case you should consider an insurer that specialises in high net worth individuals, such as Hiscox.
Of course, the best thing to do to avoid problems with your garden is to take sensible security steps. Tim Downes, regional manager for Halifax Insurance, said that garden owners should be proactive. "Garden theft increases in the summer by 63pc, so now is the time to think about garden security," he said.

(Reproduced from the Daily Telgraph May 12th 2009)

GARDIEN TIP: Follow all the free advice at

Trowbridge boy in tears after BMX theft

Nine-year-old Lewis Smith has been left devastated after thieves stole his prized bike from his family’s back garden.
Lewis, of West Ashton Road, Trowbridge, has been left distraught since his bright orange Halfords X-Rated BMX bike went missing last week.
His parents have appealed for anyone who may have seen the £250 bike to let the police know so they can try and get it back for their son.
Mum Julie Perrett-Smith said: “My husband noticed it was missing when he got up for work last Wednesday at 5.30am.
“It had been in the back garden which is surrounded by a 6ft-high fence.
“He woke me up to let me know.
“Our dog Scooby normally goes nutty at people when they walk in the garden gate but he didn’t that night for some reason.
“It’s very strange, usually the only time he doesn’t bark is if it’s a child.
“I had to wake Lewis up and ask him if he knew anybody who would have taken his bike or borrowed it, but he didn’t.
“I had to tell him I thought it had been stolen.
“He’s been crying his eyes out ever since.
“It was awful, because I know how much he loves it.”
Lewis’ parents bought him the bike last summer when the weather started to get warmer and say he rides around on it each evening when he comes home from West Ashton Primary School.
Mrs Perrett-Smith said: “When he comes home from school he keeps his uniform on and is stright out on the bike. We don’t see him until tea time and then when he comes in at night.”
She has reported the theft to Trowbridge Police but they have yet to come and take a statement from her.
She said the bike went missing some time between 11pm on Tuesday, May 5 and 5.30am on Wednesday, May 6.
Anyone with information should contact Trowbridge Police on 0845 4087000.

Reproduced from the Wiltshire Times, May 12th 2009)

GARDIEN TIP: Don't leave valuable items in the open. Store them away safely. Follow our advice at

Pensioner is left devastated by theft of windmill

Thieves left a Paston pensioner heartbroken after stealing a model windmill, which was his pride and joy, from his garden.
The 3ft tall windmill, which had stood in the corner of Paynesholm, Paston, Peterborough for several years, had been lovingly crafted by Ted Norman and was an eye-catching feature that delighted residents. Mr Norman (68), who is a carer for his wife, Joyce, was in the middle of repainting it when the theft happened.
The grandfather has now removed all the plant pots from his neat plot for fear of criminals striking again. The retired lorry driver and landscape gardener said: "I was quite shocked. It was red and white and I had painted the top half blue and white and wanted to finish the bottom half so went to get more paint. "I put the bins out as usual on Saturday morning and the windmill was gone. "They had ripped it off the base." Mr Norman has reported the theft to police but is not hopeful of ever seeing his prized windmill again. Neighbour Joan Penman (68) said she was furious that anyone would target an elderly man with a disabled wife. She said: "How could someone steal an elderly man's windmill in his front garden, where it has sat for longer than seven years? "He has now stripped his front garden. He was very proud of the garden but he has taken all the plant pots in." She added: "Why can't these people leave anything alone? It's obvious to everyone that these terraced bungalows are for the elderly and infirm. "We are living in an age where people have been brought up not to respect other people." The incident happened overnight between Friday and Saturday. If you have any information, call police on 0845 4564564, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

(Reproduced from the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 12th May)

GARDIEN TIP: Sadly, nothing is sacred and you have to consider the security of anything movable placed in your garden. See our advice at

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

M&S Money shed light on how to avoid being the next victim of garden theft

According to a survey conducted by M&S Money, the average garden shed contains a huge £888 worth of goods. One respondent admitted to storing £30,000 worth of property in their shed.
Despite these significant values, it would seem that 24 percent have failed to implement security measures such as locks on their shed doors. This could explain the motivation behind thieves targeting these particular outbuildings – to the extent that 30 percent of shed owners know someone who has had belongings stolen from their shed.
M&S Insurance Manager, Judith Roberts, commented: “Sheds often contain a wealth of property, including tools or machinery which can cost thousands of pounds. Our survey reveals that many people fail to take even simple steps to secure their shed. It’s not surprising, therefore, that insurers receive many claims for theft from sheds.
“Householders should check whether their home insurance policy provides cover for theft from the shed, and whether there is a limit on that cover. Even if you do have insurance, unless you secure your shed, any claim may be invalid.”
M&S Money has offered shed owners some security advice so as to discourage thieves. Firstly, apply at least one heavy duty lock to your shed door. Secondly, be sure to secure all shed windows and do not keep expensive equipment on display. Thirdly, do not leave tools lying around as these could be used to forcibly enter your shed. Finally, remember to security mark all property.

(Reproduced from Nemo Loans Blog May 5th 2009)

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Pot plant crime increase

POT plant crimes have increased across the district as the warmer weather arrives.
During the past week large pot plants and hanging baskets have been stolen from private houses.
Thieves arrive at the houses in transit style vehicles to steal pots and plants from people's front gardens.
Police said thieves are looking for mature hanging baskets and large pot plants, with some stolen valued at more than £200.
An Epping Forest District police spokeswoman said: "There are very few ways in which you can secure a large terracotta pot to the floor, if you chain hanging baskets to their brackets, past offences have shown that the thieves may simply pull the brackets from the wall causing more damage.
"The best advice I can give is not to display such items where passing thieves will be able to see them from the highway.
"If you have valuable pots and hanging baskets, please display them in the back garden.
"The thieves know that there is big money to be made in stolen pot plants, hanging baskets, garden furniture, lawn mowers and other gardening equipment at this time of the year."

(Reproduced from the Epping Forest Guardian 30th April)

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Warning after thieves target garden sheds

HOMEOWNERS are being urged to lock up their garages and garden sheds after a spate of thefts in Eastbourne.
The town's police chief Dick Coates has put out advice about thefts from garages and garden sheds. Chief Inspector Coates said, "Around this time of the year as summer approaches, we often see an increase in thefts from garages and garden sheds. Gardening equipment is the prime target for the would-be thief. With this in mind, it is worth considering for a moment the value of the equipment some of us have in our garden sheds which can run to many hundreds of pounds. My warning is take appropriate security precautions and be vigilant. The next victim could be you. Make sure your shed is locked and secure, as many of those entered have very little security measures. If you see anyone selling tools or garden equipment at low prices then let us know because if it's too good to be true then it probably is".

(Reproduced from the RYe & Battle Observer 30th April)

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Seaham bird of prey owner devastated after theft of birds

CALLOUS thieves stole seven birds of prey from an enthusiast who has spent his life building up the collection.
Leslie Copeland, of Seaham, County Durham, spoke of his devastation last night, describing the birds as his passion and “what made him get up in the morning”.
The thieves smashed their way into his aviaries and escaped with three adult Harris hawks, a fledgling Harris hawk, two leannar falcons and a barn owl.
A falconer’s glove and two perches were taken along with the birds which, together, have a value of several thousand pounds. They were stolen between 9pm on Tuesday and 6.30am yesterday from the back garden of Mr Copeland’s house in Windermere Road, where he keeps his birds in three aviaries.
Mr Copeland, 54, said: “I’m absolutely devastated. It’s what keeps me going – you really build up a bond with the birds. It’s my only pleasure really, I don’t go out drinking. I looked out of my window early this morning and all the windows and the door of the aviary were open. I knew what had happened – it was horrible".
Anyone with any information should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 55111

(Reproduced from the North-East Journal April 30th)

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