Thursday, April 29, 2010

How to avoid a "shedache"

Shed and Garage Thefts Homeowners are urged not to give themselves a ' shedache ' this spring by making sure their out-buildings are secure. Bicycles, power tools, lawn-mowers and fishing equipment are the top four items traditionally taken from shed and garage thefts, there is plenty which residents can do to secure them.
The following measures if taken will make sheds and garages a harder target for thieves and may well put them off !
Check the fabric of a shed to make sure it is secure and free from decay. Consider installing a strong grille or heavy wire mesh around windows to increase security.
Fit a quality lock, such as a closed shackle padlock and bolting the fittings to the door, with a steel panel fitted on the inside of the door.
Fit an energy efficient dusk-to-dawn light as this will deter thieves.
Postcode items stored in the shed and keep a record of any serial numbers. Mark property whenever possible using a visible ink pen or paint to deter thieves.
Make sure the shed is always locked when left unattended and that any garden tools are put away safely inside.
Use a heavy duty chain to secure valuable items in a shed to make sure they are protected even if somebody does break in.
For more information and advice on crime prevention you can visit the web site:

(Reproduced from West Yorkshire Police web site as shown above, April 29th)

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Prime time for garden thieves

South Wales Police have issued advice for the prevention of garden theft

With the unexpected sunshine, many gardeners will be enjoying pruning and planting. But this is also prime time for opportunist thieves, warns South Wales Police.
Advice has been issued to Cardiff residents regarding the prevention of garden thieves.
The advice is summarised as follows:
*Add loose trellises to fences or walls around your back garden, these are too unstable to climb over and can provide excellent terrain for climbing plants such as fast growing vines and honeysuckle
*Use gravel for paths as the idea of creating noise will deter the opportunist thief
*Prune low tree branches to avoid providing cover or potential access to the house
*Position security lighting at vulnerable exits or somewhere that will cast obvious shadows
*Give garden gates three bolts - top, middle and bottom, and padlock the middle one to prevent burglars exploiting a weakness
*Never leave tools out as they can be used to break in
*Sheds and garages are popular targets - ensure security with at least one heavy duty hasp and closed-shackle padlock
*Mark your gardening equipment and valuables with your postcode and house number. In most cases engraving will be most suitable
*Anchor expensive garden furniture to the ground - lock your hanging baskets

(Reproduced from Guardian - Cardiff 22nd April)

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Root Out Garden Crime

The local garden centre isn’t the only place where people shop for new outdoor furniture and equipment; opportunist thieves often turn to neighbourhood yards to access these items for free.
In a bid to curb such thefts police advise that home security should extend to the garden and include sheds, garages and outbuildings where valuable items are often stored.
Lawnmowers, bikes, golf clubs and garden tools are among the most common objects stolen due to inadequate security.
Many people don’t realise just how valuable the contents of their garden are. It is important to be aware of the steps you can take to reduce the chances of falling victim to this type of theft and to protect their property.
Tips to prevent garden crime
Fit good quality locks to sheds and outhouses.
Make sure the door, door frame and walls are solid and replace any damaged areas with new sections.
Fit key-operated window locks on opening windows.
If the windows never open, screw them permanently shut from the inside.
Install window grilles internally or use heavy wire mesh.
Consider using curtains to prevent the thief from seeing what is inside.
Security mark all your garden furniture, sporting equipment and any other item of value.
Chain together lawnmowers, bikes and other large/heavy items to help prevent them from being stolen.
Never leave tools or ladders lying around your garden. They can be used by a thief to break into your home.
Install security lighting to illuminate your garden.
Anyone wishing further information can contact the Community Safety Department at their local police office who will be happy to assist.

(Reproduced from 20th April)

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Friday, April 16, 2010

BMX bikes stolen from Kidderminster garden

A GARDEN shredder and two BMX bikes have been stolen from a Kidderminster garden.
Thieves are believed to have taken the Red Devil garden shredder and the two BMX children’s bikes, one red and one white, from the garden in Tomkinson Drive between 9pm on Saturday, March 27 and 8am on Sunday, March 28.
PC Tom Court, of Kidderminster police, said: “Our investigation into this incident is continuing and as part of this, we are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch.
“The stolen items are distinctive and we’d be keen to hear from anyone with information on their current whereabouts or from anyone who has been offered similar items for sale since they were stolen at the end of March.”
Police have given suitable crime prevention advice to the victims and say that they want to encourage other people to look carefully at their garden security, ensuring that access to the back of the house is restricted and keeping bikes and other high value items out of sight and in a locked shed or garage wherever possible.
They also recommend that push-bikes should be secured to a fixed object using a good quality bike lock.
West Mercia Police launched their spring campaign on garden and shed security at the end of March and further crime prevention advice is included in the Nip garden crime in the bud section of the force website at .
Anyone with information regarding the theft of the bikes and the garden shredder should call Kidderminster police station on 0300 333 3000 (quoting incident 76-N-280310) or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from the Kidderminster Shuttle, 7th April)

Gardien Tip: See our general garden security advice at . There is some very specific advice on Shed Security at ( and on Bike Security at (

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shed the worry of garden theft

South Derbyshire residents are being reminded to make sure their garden sheds and garages are secure after a number of incidents over the past couple of weeks.
Hilton has been a hot-spot for the break-ins, with five over the last two weeks taking place, but they have taken place at other locations in the district and allotments have been affected as well as individual properties.
Mowers, fishing tackle and power tools are among the items stolen in the raids.
As a result of the offences the Safer South Derbyshire Partnership (SSDP) is keen to make residents aware of simple steps they can take to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of this type of crime.
The Partnership team says some of the things shed owners should consider are securing doors and windows– they recommend a close shackle padlock on the door and locks or heavy wire mesh for windows.
A favourite way for offenders to get into sheds is to unscrew the door hinges – the Partnership says these can be secured with coach bolts or non-return screws or simply by smearing glue over the screw heads.
They also recommend visibly marking property with an address or postcode, painting it on so that any would-be thief can see it’s there.
Security lighting and shed alarms, both of which are available from DIY stores at reasonable prices, are included among the other measures they say shed owners should consider using.
Partnership Sergeant Andy King says: “It is amazing when you think of the value of items that people keep in their sheds that often they don’t invest a few pounds in making them secure. In many cases they are not well protected and in some cases are not locked at all. “There’s a range of simple steps that can be introduced at little or no cost that could prevent the loss of high value items stored in them” Sergeant King concluded.
More information or advice on shed security is available from the South Derbyshire Crime Reduction Officer PC Eileen Banton at Swadlincote Police Station on 01332 613398.

(Reproduced from 14 April)

Gardien Tip: See our full advice re Shed Security at

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Summer is boom time for burglars

Now the clocks have gone forward, it's officially British summer time. For anyone with a garden, that means it's time to start dusting off the barbeque and patio furniture in preparation for sunny afternoons and balmy evenings spent outside. But sunbathers and barbeque enthusiasts are not the only ones who enjoy spending time in the gardens of Great Britain. Thieves hoping to steal your plants and furniture also like the summer, when their activity jumps 58%.So how can you protect yourself?The days of leaving the back door open are long gone in most areas of the UK. But while the majority of us take care to secure our homes before heading out or going to bed, the same cannot be said of our gardens, terraces and patios. That could prove a costly mistake, though, according to new research from Halifax Home Insurance. It is urging Britons lucky enough to have outside space to be on their guard against opportunistic outdoor thieves, who have been known to steal everything from garden gnomes to barbeques and even mature shrubs and plants. Unsurprisingly, garden theft is more common in summer time as this is when most people leave patio furniture and other potentially valuable items outdoors. The Halifax figures show that last year garden theft leapt by 58% during the summer months. And with an average outlay of £429 needed to replace the items taken, failing to take measures to make your garden less attractive to thieves could end up costing you dear. Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager at Halifax Home Insurance, said: "Homeowners can forget to pay as much attention to security of the outside of the home, but with many people now realising how much value they can add to their property by improving their gardens, there are rich pickings for thieves. Now is the time to take steps to avoid becoming the next victim."It is hard to prevent the theft of shrubs and flowers planted in your garden, but there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of having other portable items stolen.

Ways to avoid being targeted by garden thieves include ensuring that garden sheds, gates, garages and outbuildings remain securely locked at all times, putting bricks or stones in the bottom of patio tubs to make them harder for thieves to carry and marking valuable items such as patio furniture and ornaments with your postcode. If you are thinking of revamping your garden, it is also worth bearing in mind that high walls, spiky fences and prickly bushes can make it more difficult to access, while gravelling your driveway makes it easier to hear anyone who approaches your property. Some home insurance policies include cover for garden furniture, and items stored in sheds and garages, so it is also worth checking this if you fear you may fall prey to garden thieves. Halifax Home Insurance, for example, offers up to £500 for stolen plants, trees and shrubs and provides a further £500 cover for contents in the open such as furniture, barbecues and garden ornaments. The contents of outbuildings, sheds and garages are also covered up to £2,000.

(Reproduced from 29th March)

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Theft of garden ornaments and plants: North Hykeham (Lincs)

At about 11:20pm on Sunday 4th April, two men aged 19 and 20 and an 18-year-old woman, all from the Lincoln area were arrested after the theft of a number of garden ornaments and potted plants from Grandfield Way and other areas of North Hykeham.
The three were arrested after a blue Hyundai car was seen in suspicious circumstances near the scene of the thefts and later stopped by the police on Skellingthorpe Road, Lincoln.
The suspects have been bailed to return to the police station at a later date.
A number of plants and garden ornaments were found in the car and the investigating officers are keen to reunite them with their owners.
Anyone who is missing such items from their gardens are asked to contact PCSO Julie Clark of the North Hykeham Town Neighbourhood Policing Team 01522 805720.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from 7th April)

Gardien Tip: Use property marking to make it easy for the police to return stolen goods to their rightful owner. See

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Warning on theft of garden tools

POLICE are urging owners of lawnmowers and other expensive garden equipment to check their security arrangements.
Sgt Steve Pearse, of Safer Ryedale Partnership said: "As spring is upon us we are reaching the time when lawnmowers and other power tools and garden equipment are being used and owners must check they are happy with their security arrangements." His warning follows the theft of a £300 Honda lawnmower from a building in the cemetery grounds in Dog Kennel Lane, Thornton-le-Dale. It had been locked but was broken into and police are urging people to ensure locks are strong enough

(Reproduced from Scarborough Evening News, 7th April)

Gardien Tip: The value of garden equipment and tools is generally under-estimated by a large margin and protection is inadequate. See the advice and products available at

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Crime prevention advice for Summer

Whilst the number of house burglaries on the Wirral continues to fall, garden sheds remain popular targets for thieves, due to their potential rich pickings, and often low-level resistance.
Sheds can be overlooked when home security is considered, despite the fact that the value of the contents such as mowers, power tools, garden furniture and cycles etc can often add up to several hundred pounds. A burglar can also use garden tools to break into a house.
Avoid being a victim of garden crime by reviewing your security and taking action where necessary to reduce the loss of your valued possessions.
Here are a few suggestions:
At a bare minimum, the shed door should be protected with a good quality/heavy duty hasp and staple, with a closed shackled padlock. These should be fitted using coach bolts or 'non-return' clutch screws. Windows should be protected using internally fitted grilles or mesh.
Shed alarms are cheap to purchase, or consider extending your house alarm to cover your shed or garage.
Bicycles are often what attract thieves to sheds in the first place. For this reason, bikes should always be chained and locked to something fixed or bulky such as a workbench or set of ladders. If there are other bikes in the shed then they should be locked together.
Ensure tools or other expensive items are kept, where possible, in the house. Failing this, they should be stored in a secure box.
External lighting, and gravel on paths or driveways, will give you a timely reminder of an intruder, and likewise deter offenders.
Low or damaged fencing allows easy access to your property. Ensure gates and fencing are at least 1.8 metres high, and consider fitting wooden trellis which will break, create noise and attract attention if climbed. Spiked toppings such as 'Prikkastrip' can also be used to deter potential offenders.
If you require any further advice regarding garden and shed security, contact the local Crime Reduction Officers on 0151 606 5484.

(Reproduced from 1st April)

Gardien Tip: Full advice about shed security can be found at

Nip Garden Crime In The Bud - And Don't Forget Sheds and Allotments!

Spring is on the way with Easter weekend around the corner and many people will be taking the opportunity to get to work in their gardens.
West Mercia Police is urging green-fingered residents to help it ‘weed out’ garden crime by reviewing and improving their garden and shed security.
Although Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin are low-crime areas, around 1,500 shed burglaries take place every year across the West Mercia region and spring often sees an increase in these thefts.
Many people leave valuable equipment in gardens and unsecured sheds, providing easy pickings for opportunist thieves. So, it is important that people take the time to ensure their valuables are stored securely.
Later this month thousands of packets of seeds will be distributed to the public across the force. They come packed with handy tips on how people can make their gardens and sheds more secure and prevent burglars from breaking in.
West Mercia Police has also produced Shed Cards with the message ‘STOP all valuables have been removed’, which local residents can display on their sheds (in gardens and allotments). The cards act as a handy reminder that valuable items should not be stored in sheds, as well as deterring thieves from breaking in.
PC Ian White, the force’s Crime Risk Manager, said: “While many people take steps to protect their homes and the property inside them, they often leave valuable equipment such as power tools, mowers, garden tools and bikes in sheds in their gardens or allotments. Often they are unsecured or not strong or secure enough to defend against thieves.
“We are advising people to look at how to secure their gardens and allotments and if necessary make some adjustments.”

(Reproduced from 30th March)

Gardien Tip: The garden shed is the number one target - see how to protect it at