Saturday, August 29, 2009

A bitter harvest for theft-hit gardeners

Fine gardening weather has been tempting thieves to harvest power tools and machinery from sheds, gardens and garages.
Bernard Plume, West Suffolk's crime prevention officer, warned: "Many people may be working in their gardens this summer, but at the end of a day's work it is not just a case of making sure tools and other items are put away in a garage or garden shed, you must make sure that you have effective security." When you go to purchase a padlock or locking device ensure that it is of good quality and consider fitting a shed alarm. If you have any expensive equipment make sure that you mark it and you have the serial numbers and photos of the property." In just two days last week, thieves stole thousands of pounds worth of power tools and garden machinery in three raids. A chainsaw, lawnmower, hedge trimmer and leaf blower, all made by Stihl, were stolen from an insecure shed at The Pound, Hawstead. The following day a Black and Decker sander and Makita drill were taken from another insecure shed at Hethersett Way, Red Lodge. In a separate raid on the same day, in Hervey Road, Bury St Edmunds, thieves cut chains securing a John Deere mower and flatbed trailer then used the trailer to take the mower away. Police will be visiting areas of St Edmundsbury in the next few weeks to offer crime prevention advice, but anyone wanting to discuss crime prevention can call Bernard Plume on 01284 774141. If you have any information on the thefts, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

(Reproduced from the Bry Free Press, August 28th)

GARDIEN TIP: All the advice and security products you need can be found at

Friday, August 28, 2009

Theft from South Wales garden

A bright orange coloured chainsaw and strimmer were taken from the garden area of a dwelling in Parsonage Lane, Begelly, sometime between 11.20 am and 7 pm on Monday. A child’s mini-scrambler motorbike and a one gallon red fuel can were also stolen. Anyone with information is asked to contact PC512 Rowe at Narberth Police Station via 101.

(Reproduced from the Tenby Observer, 28th August)

GARDIEN TIP: Never leave valuable items outside - lock them away securely in a shed or garage. Also use Property Marking to reduce the resale value and aid retrieval. All the advice and products you need can be found at

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Appeal to help identify pub garden theft CCTV suspects

MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help identify two men suspected of stealing garden furniture worth £750 from a pub in Chipstead.
Five sets of teak and metal tables and chairs were taken from the Ramblers Rest in Outwood Lane on the morning of August 10.
Police officers investigating the theft have now released CCTV images of two men in the pub grounds at about 5am that day.
Detective Constable David Warner said: “I hope that by releasing these images someone will recognise the suspects and come forward and identify them.
“Given the size and weight of the stolen tables and chairs it is obvious the thieves needed a large vehicle to remove the items.
“Perhaps you saw this vehicle, laden with outdoor garden furniture, being driven away and did not think anything suspicious at the time?”
Anyone with information should contact DC Warner on 0845 125 2222, quoting reference RB/09/7744, or call Crimestoppers if you wish to remain anonymous on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from August 26th)

GARDIEN TIP: Property Marking is a cost-effective way of deterring theft, along with warning signs that all property has been marked. In addition, access to the garden needs to be made as difficult as possible so that heavy items have no direct way out to a vehicle. See the advice at

Friday, August 21, 2009

Garden Theft a Growing Problem for Homeowners

The increasing popularity of garden makeovers and the concept of the ‘outdoor room’ means that Britons are now spending over £4 billion a year on plants, pots, furniture, garden tools and other garden items, yet many do little or nothing to protect their investment against the rising tide of garden crime, and often leave themselves vulnerable to theft and vandalism. RIAS has discovered research carried out by gardening organisations, including the Horticultural Trades Association, and police statistics revealing that claims of over 1 million garden thefts per year are not exaggerated. “Sadly we are all now sitting targets for garden theft,” says RIAS Managing Director Janet Connor, “yet people are not taking anywhere near enough precautions. Most home insurance policy holders don’t realise that the garden and its contents may not be routinely protected by their existing cover in the event of theft, loss or damage, and it’s costing victims as much as £400million per year to replace stolen property. We strongly advise people to check their home insurance policy today, and make sure additional provision for garden cover is added if it is not there already. ” Garden thieves, as well as green-eyed opportunists, have become bolder over the years: some unscrupulous landscapers steal to order and re-sell plundered assets to unsuspecting clients; ‘garden stripping’ is becoming more common, with people returning home to find their entire garden removed including all plants, trees, water features, furniture, ponds full of fish and even the lawn; and the proceeds of random pilfering lines thieves’ pockets as stolen tools, pots and ornaments end up at car boot sales. Whatever its extent or scale, garden crime is on the rise and causes significant distress and financial loss.

(Reproduced from 20th August)

GARDIEN TIP: All the above advice and much more (plus products to help protect your garden) are available at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Animal theft from Wisbech garden

A PUPPY and six birds were taken from a Wisbech garden in the early hours of Wednesday August 19th.
The eight-month-old Siberian Husky, five budgies and a Conyer were taken between 1am and 9am after unknown persons used a wheelie bin to climb a fence and gain access to the garden in Chapnall Road. The dog, called Dusty, is wearing a purple and black collar. The budgies are light blue, dark blue, lilac/blue, white and white/yellow. The Conyer is described as a green bird with bits of blue and a red head and breast. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the CIMU at March Police Station on 0345 456 456 4 or to ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111

(Reproduced from the Fenland Citizen, 20th August)

GARDIEN TIP: The dog could be micro-chipped in order to aid retrieval and verify ownership, but first of all the garden should be made harder to enter. See the advice re Walls and Fences at

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Garden statue stolen

A BRONZE statue of a heron has been stolen from a garden in Droitwich Spa.
The two-foot garden feature, worth around £375, was taken from the address in Lyttelton Road between 12noon on Saturday, July 25 and 12 noon on Monday, August 10.
Community Support Officer, Keeley Hawkes, said: “The owner of this statue has been left very upset by its theft as it had sentimental value, being a birthday present for her late husband’s 70th birthday.
“We would urge anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area between the times stated to get in touch but it is likely that this object will turn up for sale at a car boot sale or similar event or even be offered for sale to independent retailers.
“Anyone who comes across a statue matching its description should call police on 0300 333 3000, quoting 790/S/100809.”

(Reproduced from Droitwich Spa Advertiser, 17th August)

GARDIEN TIP: Property marking greatly assists the retrieval of stolen goods. If the item can not easily be marked without affecting its appearance then it can be invisibly marked using Forensic DNA. See details at

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Theft of sit on lawnmower

Police are appealing for witnesses following the theft of a sit-on lawnmower.
It was taken from a garden at Fletcher Road, Burbage, Hinckley between 8pm on Wednesday, August 12 and 8am Thursday 13 August.
The 800 Toro mower has a Honda engine, and was coloured red.
PC 2115 David O'Sullivan, the officer investigating the case, said: "I would ask for anyone with information about this theft to come forward."
Anyone with any information is asked to contact PC 2115 David OSullivan on 0116 222 2222, follow the instructions to leave a message for a police officer and when prompted key in the officer's identification number 2115. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers, which is free and anonymous on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from 14th August)

GARDIEN TIP : The cheapest way to help deter theft of valuable items such as lawnmowers is to Property Mark them with your postcode. Additionally it is unwise to leave such items outside overnight and a secure metal storage unit is recommended for mowers, bikes, tools etc. All the advice and products you need are at

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mystery of plant thefts

TEN large shrubs have mysteriously gone missing from a housing estate in Dagenham, little more than a week after a bamboo tree was stolen from a front garden. A 75-year-old resident of Ron Todd Close, who does not want to be named, said the three-foot shrubs were growing happily in the communal garden on Saturday July 25 but were nowhere to be seen the next day. A similar theft was reported in the POST two weeks ago. On the morning of July 14, keen gardeners Caroline and Peter Sims of Cornwallis Road, Dagenham, woke to discover that someone had taken their newly planted 4ft bamboo tree, which was worth £50. All that was left was a trail of soil, which could be followed along three streets before it disappeared. Speaking of the recent shrub theft, the Ron Todd Close resident said: "I thought it was strange that the shrubs just went missing like that. Then I read the piece in the paper about the tree thief and I figured someone must have stolen these plants too." It looks like there's a spate of it going on at the moment, which I find quite odd." The pensioner has reported the theft to the police and the housing trust that maintains the garden, Circle 33. A spokesman from Circle 33 said: "We are aware of the theft and are investigating it in conjunction with the police. There is a CCTV camera overlooking the shrubs, so the footage from the night in question will be checked."

(Reproduced from Barking and Dagenham Post, 13th August)

GARDIEN TIP: Valuable shrubs and trees can be secured using a Plant Anchor. See details of this product at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Statue thieves force wine writer to close historic garden to public

A world renowned wine writer has been forced to close his historic garden to the public after thieves struck for the second time this year.
Hugh Johnson, 70, is considered by many to be the world's pre-eminent writer on wine, publishing several best-selling books on the subject.
He has owned the 12-acre garden at Saling Hall, in Essex, since 1971.
With his wife Judy, he has restored the plot over the decades and has opened it every year to visitors during May, June and July as part of the National Gardens Scheme.
He said today he will no longer open the garden because he believes the thieves "cased" it during one of his public days.
They stole two sculptures worth thousands of pounds on 26 July as well as four granite columns.
In May Mr Johnson, who was awarded the OBE in 2007 for services to winemaking and horticulture, offered a £1,000 reward after thieves stole a 17th-century astronomical sphere and valuable urns from the site.
The statue of FloraMr Johnson, who has written The World Atlas of Wine since 1971, said: "It is the second robbery we've had, I'm sad to say. The first theft was earlier in the year. We will not be able to open the garden to the public in the same way as it was before."
He added: "We're having valuations done on the items that were stolen, but whatever happens, it's quite considerable to me."
Announcing the theft on his website, he wrote: "Desperados turned up at dusk with a lorry intending to clear out what was left."
Saling Hall in EssexHe added: "They loaded up, among other things, the most precious object in the garden, the statue we call Flora that has stood in the centre of the walled garden since 1974. "The fellows then raided the potting shed, stealing, rather surprisingly, our packets of seeds and our plant food."
He said that as well as the 18th-century statue of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, the stolen items included another sculpture depicting two wrestlers. Mr Johnson, originally from St John's Wood, said he believed the statue of Flora, for which he was prepared to offer a reward of £4,000, has already been melted down for scrap metal.
He wrote: "The thought that she may by now be £300 worth of lead sheet is not pretty. People who were visiting the garden came and cased the area. Considering what was taken, there was definitely more than one of them."
He said of his decision to end the public days: "It's sad because this garden has been open for nearly 40 years." He added: "People who still want to come to the garden will be able to apply for a visit but because of what's happened, there will be no more public open days."
The garden dates from 1698 and the present vast woodland plot was started in 1936 by previous owner Lady Carlyle, who lived there until 1970.
A spokesman for Essex police said: "On the night of the 26 July there were reports of a robbery at Saling Hall. We are appealing for anyone with information to come forward."

(Reproduced from The London Evening Standard Aug 13th)

GARDIEN TIP: Access to the garden should be made as difficult as possible and bollards can be used to prevent the close approach of vehicles. Valuable outdoor items require special consideration as per the advice at

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blitz on garden crime

POLICE are stepping up their fight against criminals following a string of thefts from gardens.
Cleveland Police say they have seen an increase in garden crime and are urging people to take more care and lock valuables away. There have been 22 thefts from gardens in Hartlepool since the beginning of June, with offences being reported all over the town. The north area of Hartlepool has seen 14 offences, with six in the south of Hartlepool and two in the central area of town. They say planters, garden ornaments, solar lights and more expensive items like lawnmowers and garden furniture have been stolen from people's back gardens. Crime prevention officers PC Steve Davies and Colin Hopkins, of the New Deal for Communities scheme, are holding a awareness event at Stranton Nursery, in the town's Tanfield Road, tomorrow between 11am and noon where they will be giving valuable advice on how to beat the burglars. PC Davies said: "The thefts occur mainly overnight with a variety of items being stolen. "Our advice is to keep your garden secure by locking side gates, which makes entry for thieves harder and it makes the removal of heavy items more difficult." The Hartlepool Crime Prevention Panel is promoting plastic spikes called cactus strips as an alternative to barbed wire. PC Davies and Mr Hopkins will be back at the nursery between 10am and 12pm on Saturday, August 22. For crime prevention advice contact Hartlepool crime prevention team on (01429) 405598

(Reproduced from Hartlepool Mail, August 12th)

GARDIEN TIP: We believe this is happening all over the country at the moment and insufficient attention is being paid to it. Don't get caught - take action before it happens to you. See the free comprehensive advice at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Police 'liberate' stolen gnomes

Police have recovered 30 stolen garden gnomes during a night-time raid which netted more than 160 other garden ornaments.
The items were discovered in three gardens in the Woodburn area of Dalkeith in Midlothian.
Among the ornaments seized were a large wooden elephant and big clay frog.
Lothian and Borders Police said five men and two women questioned about the discovery have been released pending further investigation.
The raid, which involved 18 officers in the early hours of 29 July, followed dozens of complaints from the public about the number of ornaments appearing in the Woodburn gardens.
'No laughing matter'
Police believe the items, which also included strimmers, lawn mowers and 12 deck chairs, may have been taken from homes in Loanhead, Rosewell and Roslin.
They recovered so many garden ornaments, they filled a large double garage.
Detectives are now appealing for the rightful owners to contact them.
Insp John McGill said: "Over the last few months we have had complaints about garden ornaments going missing across Midlothian.
"This might seem like a trivial matter on the face of it but when you are talking about a theft of this magnitude it becomes far more serious.
"It's not a laughing matter for the people who have had property stolen."

(Reproduced from BBC News Scotland August 10th)

GARDIEN TIP: Although it is good news that these items have been found, the job of returning them to their rightfulowners would be very easy if Property Marking had been used. See

Tortoise theft from St Austell

Zeus, a 7 stone Sulcata tortoise has been stolen during a burglary at The Tortoise Garden at Sticker, near St Austell.
He was stolen along with over 20 other tortoises in a burglary at sanctuary between Sunday night (9 August 2009) and Monday morning (10 August 2009).
The offenders forced their way into a number of locked enclosures and stole Zeus along with Margis, Leopard, Spur, Redfoot and Yellowfoot tortoises.
Other tortoises had been stolen from their pens earlier on the Sunday, probably by a visitor who went to the garden which is open to the public. On that occasion five tortoises – 2 Hermans, 1 male juvenile Spur and two Indian Stars were stolen.
The owner of the tortoise garden, Joy Bloor said, "I am absolutely devastated that the tortoises have been stolen.
"Many of them are tropical tortoises which means that they will suffer if they are not kept in the right conditions."
John Hayward, the co-ordinator of the national theft register for exotic animals, who are security advisors for zoos and animal associations said, "A number of different species were stolen, many of which are on the most endangered species list.
"Those particularly animals referred to, especially the Hermann’s and the Spur-thighed tortoises can only be sold or purchased under licence. Because of their rarity it is illegal to offer such species into trade and it is a most serious offence which can carry upwards of 5 year in prison.
"It is not the actual monetary value. Our main concern is the welfare of these tortoises that have special dietary requirement. Additionally as a result of the action of the thieves vital breeding programmes have been destroyed."
Anyone with any information regarding the stolen tortoises is asked to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 quoting crime reference GA/09/2255 or John Hayward of the national register for animals 07802 404 929 who is in direct contact with St Austell CID

(Reproduced from 10th August)

GARDIEN TIP: Clealry there is a spate of Tortoise thefts at the moment and all owners should take extra care, especially if they are rare. Specific advice about looking after Tortoises can be found at while more general advice about keeping people out of your property and surroundings can be found at

Monday, August 10, 2009

Horticulture Week charts crime affecting horticultural businesses

Today, Horticulture Week has launched a map plotting the locations of businesses that have been hit by thieves in the past 12 months as covered by HW reporters.
The hope is that the map will help business owners to see, at a glance, areas where robberies targeting horticultural firms have been a problem and offer the opportunity for those hit by thieves to locate and make contact with other businesses experiencing similar problems in their area.
They also hope it will help to raise awareness and focus the attention of the relevant authorities and industry bodies on a problem that appears to have grown as the recession has deepened. The map may also reveal some patterns or clusters which could be useful in drawing up strategies to combat such crimes.

(Reproduced from Horticulture Week, August 10th). The full article can be seen at

GARDIEN TIP: A good proportion of the advice about garden security applies to the protection of Horticultural businesses, clearly also suffering from an increase in crime. Of particular relevance are issues like PropertyMarking and the protection of Outbuildings. See

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rare tortoises garden theft

POLICE are appealing for information after a group of rare breed tortoises were stolen from their enclosure in a garden in Worksop.
The five Hermann tortoises went missing between 10pm on Sunday, July 26, and 10.45am on Monday, July 27, from the garden in Hardwick Road West. PC Steve Bolstridge, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: "These tortoises are a rare breed and a difficult type to buy, so there won't be many on the market at the moment."
Anyone with information should contact PC Bolstridge on 01909 500999 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

(Reproduced from the Sheffield Telegraph, 5th August)

GARDIEN TIP: Tortoises are perhaps the only animal which can easily be property marked with the owner's postcode to deter theft. General security precautions should also be taken to make access to the garden more difficult. See the advice available at and for Property Marking see

Residents asked to be on guard as garden crime rises

STONEHOUSE residents are being asked to help stamp out garden thefts by following police crime prevention advice.
Since the start of the summer, officers have responded to more than 50 cases of items being stolen from private gardens in the Cotswold and Stroud area - not including garden tools. Sergeant Kirk Harrison from the Stonehouse Safer Community Team said: "It is easy to forget that your garden has valued possessions that thieves would love to steal, especially during the summer months.
"Patio furniture, barbecues, hammocks and parasols are all targets, but there are several simple actions you can take to prevent becoming a victim.
"Make sure you put away all tools and equipment and that any outdoor sheds are securely locked when not in use.
"Bring any tools inside if you do not have a secure outbuilding.
"Tables and benches can be secured to the patio using bolts and you could consider installing outside lighting.
"Not only will good lighting enhance your garden it can also be a major deterrent to thieves."
He added that the best type to install is low-level lighting at dusk and dawn, which will give good illumination, is cheap to run, and will remain on all night.
Officers also advise marking items so that they can be identified if they are stolen - making them far less attractive to thieves.
Photographing valuable items such as planters, statues, staddle stones and garden ornaments will also help police identify them.
Homeowners are also advised to check whether their household insurance policy covers theft from gardens and outbuildings. More information about keeping your home and property safe can be found on the crime reduction pages of the Gloucestershire police website at

(Reproduced from Stroud News and Journal, 4th August)

GARDIEN TIP: Advice re all the above and high quality security products can be found at

Off-road motorbikes stolen from back garden

Two off-road motorbikes have been stolen from Irthlingborough.
The theft took place between 11pm on Sunday August 2 and 6am on Monday August 3 from a rear garden at a home in Nicholas Road. The first machine was an off road Kawasaki, green and black in colour. The second one was a red pit bike. The motorbikes had been chained together. Witnesses to this incident, or anyone with information, should call Northamptonshire Police on 03000 111 222 - alternatively, information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, 3rd August)

GARDIEN TIP: Clearly the chain was insufficient to prevent theft but there are better options - these include use of a ground anchor or installation of a secure metal shed. See the advice at

Witnesses sought after theft of statue in garden

POLICE are appealing for witnesses following the theft of expensive garden furniture.
Thieves stole a statue from a garden in Kings Avenue on Thursday July 16 and four Victorian chairs were also taken on Saturday July 18 from a garden in Summerdown Road. The owner of the Victorian chairs, Mrs Penny Sandell, said, "They are around 150 years old and worth about £1,000. "We've had them a very long time, they were my father's and so have a lot of sentimental value. "The statue, which depicts a female holding a jug, also has sentimental value." The owner, Ed Brown, said, "It was a present from my partner and so it is very upsetting. The thieves obviously planned it as there is a six foot fence around my garden." If anyone has any information regarding these or other thefts they are urged to contact the Police. Information can be left by phoning the non-emergency number 0845 60 70 999, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. The owners of the statue and chairs are offering a reward for any information that leads to the return of the items and a conviction

(Reproduced from the Eastbourne Herald, July 31st)

GARDIEN TIP: The use of Forensic DNA inextricably links items back to their rightful owners. Its use, together with appropriate warning signs will go a long way to deterring thieves. Advice and information can be found at

Reward offered after theft of a large garden bench

A RETIRED dockyard worker from St Budeaux is offering a £50 reward for information leading to the return of a large piece of garden furniture.
A just-bought bench was taken from the front garden of Clarence Bennett, aged 72.
He paid more than £300 for the eight-seater wooden bench just a couple of months ago and it has proved popular with visiting relatives and friends.
But on Monday morning, July 27, he discovered it was missing from his garden in Clearbrook Avenue.
Clarence said the bench, which is painted red, is so heavy that four men would have been needed to carry it away.

(Reproduced from The Plymouth Herald, July 29th)

GARDIEN TIP: Use Property Marking to make it easy for the police to return stolen goods to their rightful owner. Where possible, chain valuable items to the ground. See the advice at