Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Uttlesford (Essex) residents urged to lock up their gardening equipment following spate of shed burglaries

POLICE are urging residents in Uttlesford to secure their gardening equipment following a number of shed burglaries.
Between 8pm on April 29 and 10am on May 1 suspects broke into sheds and outbuildings in Hatfield Broad Oak and stole items totalling £7,500.
The goods taken includes two Hayter petrol lawn mowers, gym equipment, a Drover men’s mountain bike, and a television.
Officers are appealing for anyone who witnessed or has information about these crimes to contact Dunmow police station on 0300 333 4444, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
• Uttlesford district crime reduction advisor Peter Caulfield has a few top tips for keeping garden equipment and sheds safe from thieves.
“I would urge everyone to make a note of all their gardening equipment, recording the make, model and serial number,” he said.
“We also recommend that you mark all your equipment in a highly visible manner, such as scratching or engraving or using a permanent security marker, showing your postcode and house number or name. This makes it less attractive to thieves as the equipment is then much harder to sell on the black market.
“Also, do securely lock your shed, with bolts that cannot be prised off. Larger tools and items such as bikes and lawn mowers should ideally be chained to a shed shackle on the wall, or to an ‘Eye’ type anchor fix into the concrete floor inside the shed.”
Shed doors can be further secured with shed alarms and a ‘shed bar’ lock. Approved security products can be seen on web sites or
“Please don’t advertise your gardening equipment to passers by. If you keep your tools in your garage or a shed, don’t leave the door open for long periods for everyone to see,” added Mr Caulfield.
“In addition, if you’ve just bought some new gardening equipment, don’t put the box out for collection at the roadside: please turn the box inside out or break it down so it fits inside the bag or bin, protecting your privacy.”
There are also plenty of ways of increasing the security of your back gardens, particularly through using what the experts call “defensive planting”.
Mr Caulfield explains: “In everyday language, ‘defensive planting’ means putting prickly shrubs in areas of your garden where they can deter would-be thieves. So, if your garden borders public areas consider planting prickly bushes in that area.”
Residents should also consider topping fences with trellis that will collapse on the weight of someone climbing it, or alternately adding a spiky topping to fences, with relevant warning signs affixed to the fence.
For further information on keeping your shed and garden secure contact Mr Caulfield on 0300 333 4444

(Reproduced from Dunmow Broadcast, May 18th)

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Warning after spate of thefts

RESIDENTS have been warned to keep their gardens secure following an ‘unusual’ spate of thefts of ornaments, plants and equipment across West Suffolk. Items were snatched from 19 gardens in the Forest Heath, St Edmundsbury and Mid Suffolk districts between April 22 and May 6.
They include bird baths, statues, sun dials, a lawnmower, lights and plants – with most reported stolen overnight.
Police have now reminded residents to be vigilant and take extra precautions in the wake of the crimes.
Det Chief Insp Louisa Pepper said: “Such an amount in a fortnight is unusual and it is thought that possibly some of these items have been stolen to sell on.
“Our advice is not to leave anything of value unattended in your garden.
“Investing in lighting and CCTV and keeping your garden and boundaries tidy can discourage thieves.
“Some of the items may not have been taken had they been locked away after use.”
She noted that a number of the ornaments were ‘distinctive’ including a Virgin Mary Statue taken from a garden in Red Lodge on April 29, a metal brazier log burner from Westhorpe on April 22 and a grey stone frog from Stowmarket between April 29 to 30.
Other items taken included nine statues from Hopton, from May 4 to 5, a sun dial and animal statues from Walsham-le-Willows between April 30 to May 1 as well as three rose bushes and 15 solar lights from Beck Row, from May 4 to 5.
Anyone who may be offered the items for sale in ‘unusual circumstances’ or at a fete or car boot sale or has information about the incidents should contact the police on (01473) 613500

(Reproduced from the Bury Free Press 16th May 2011)

Gardien Tip: Plenty of advice re garden security and products to minimise the risk of theft can be found at

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden ornament theft spate prompts Newcastle warning

A stone bench was among the items stolen Police have warned people to ensure their garden ornaments are photographed and marked after a series of thefts in the Newcastle area.
Since the beginning of April there have been about 10 incidents where such items - often unusual, large and heavy - have been taken.
The Walbottle, Callerton and Lemington areas have been targeted.
Stolen items include a stone bench, bird baths, garden planters, stone horses heads, and 6ft bronze lamp.
Police have said that it was likely those responsible had used a vehicle, and it was possible that the thefts were linked.
A Northumbria Police spokesman added: "The items are unusual and some are difficult to move, with most being stolen overnight.
"Some are very rare with only a few made, however, many are quite readily available to buy so even if we do recover some of the stolen property it may be difficult to return them to their rightful owners.
"I'd advise people to be wary about decorating their garden with expensive items.
"However, if residents do have items such as this which they want to keep in their garden, they should take photographs of it and ensure it is marked with their postcode so that if it is stolen and then recovered, we can return it."

(Reproduced from BBC News 14th May 2011)

Gardien Tip:  See our advice re the securing of Outdoor Items at

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Police chief will target metal thefts

A TOP female police officer appointed to tackle high-profile offenders has burglaries and metal thefts high on her list of priorities.
Detective Inspector Lyn Peart has moved into the role at Peterlee CID after her predecessor Neil Edgar took up a similar position in Bishop Auckland.
Det Insp Peart, who has 14 years policing experience and was the first female advisor at Durham’s armed police unit in 2000, said she aims to target scrap thieves who are taking items like bikes and are even resorting to stealing child’s swings from gardens.
She said: “I hope to have a big impact on the reduction and detection of crime and to ensure that victims feel confident in the way they have been dealt with and are satisfied with the service they have been given.”
The 35-year-old has already been relishing her first three weeks in the role.
She said: “It’s a busy area.
“There are a lot of good people that we need to serve and make sure the local issues they have got are tackled, from not only a core policing point of view, but also from a crime investigation viewpoint.”
Det Insp Peart is in charge of CID, crime teams and prisoner handling teams.
She said: “Our priorities for the Peterlee area are burglaries, vehicle crime and metal thefts.
“We have days of action planned around all of these.”
In the coming weeks, the police are planning operations targeting metal thefts, as well as looking at ways of preventing the offences.
Det Insp Peart said: “We will be looking at crime prevention, making sure that people secure items, whether they are bikes or items from renovations.
“We are getting more and more reports of scrap collectors coming around and taking these without permission.
“We need to have an education phase and also make it tough for people taking these.
“We are also looking at scrap merchants themselves, who are making a business for thieves taking metal in.
“It’s a big country-wide problem because of the price of metal. It makes it so much easier to take a little girl’s bike from the garden or a swing.
“It’s such a big impact on everybody.”

(Reproduced from Hartlepool Mail, May 7th )

Gardien Tip:  See our article on Bike Security at  See our general garden security advice to help protect items in the garden.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Keep your gardens secure

AS THE SUN continues to shine, one Droitwich gardener has lent her support to a West Mercia Police campaign to help reduce garden crime.
Malley Terry, who opens her garden to the public every year for charity, has welcomed the new drive by South Worcestershire Police to stamp out the menace.
The scheme aims to raise awareness of the steps people can take to protect their gardens, sheds and allotments.
Around 1,500 shed burglaries take place every year within West Mercia, while garden equipment that has not been secured properly or has been left out could be used to break into a house.
South Worcestershire’s crime reduction manager, Mike Stephenson and Sgt Dave Knight joined Mrs Terry in her garden in Alexander Avenue to formally launch the new scheme.
Mr Stephenson said: “Although many people take steps to protect their homes and the property inside them, valuable equipment is often left in unsecured sheds, providing easy pickings for opportunist thieves.
“Expensive items such as power tools, mowers, garden tools, bicycles and golf clubs should not be stored in sheds.
“If possible, store them in your house or garage.
“Easy, simple, steps can be taken by everyone to help reduce garden crime and keep their belongings safe throughout the year.
“People love beautiful gardens, people flock to Mrs Terry’s garden every year, but thieves love insecure gardens and we need to work together to keep garden crime low and our gardens places we can relax safely throughout the summer,” he added.
For more on garden and shed security, visit the force’s website:

(Reproduced from The Droitwich Standard, 3rd May 2011)

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sunshine crime spree police warning

HOT Bank Holiday weather has brought a crime wave in Doncaster’s gardens, police have warned.
Officers responsible for policing the borough have seen a spike in the number of thefts from outside homes as residents get out on their lawns and patios.
The rise in reports has prompted an appeal for residents to be vigilant and keep their property secure.
A spokesman said the last few weeks had seen an increase in thefts of items such as garden furniture, hanging baskets and ornaments.
Sgt Jez Fitzgibbons said: “We have had a number of thefts reported over the last week, where items have been stolen from gardens.
“The people committing these thefts will undoubtedly be opportunistic thieves who pass by and see something they like or can sell.
“We need the public to help us prevent these types of thefts and ensure everybody can continue enjoying the sunshine.”
Police says they want to remind residents to ensure their property is secure, by locking items away in a shed or garage when they are not in use, and securing hanging baskets to walls.
The current heatwave started two weeks ago and has seen many residents taking to their gardens.
In Doncaster, it has seen families heading out to the borough’s parks to take in the weather.
Forecasters are expecting more sunshine for Doncaster over the Bank Holiday weekend, although temperatures were expected to be lower than those residents enjoyed over Easter, with temperatures of 16C today and 15C tomorrow and Sunday.
Police are offering advice on keeping the current wave of thieves out.
For more information on how to keep your home secure, residents are being advised to speak to officers from their Safer Neighbourhood Team.
Log onto and enter your postcode or call 0114 2202020 for details of your local team.

(Reproduced from The Star 30th April 2011)

Gardien Tip: Lock items away in sheds as suggested above but make sure the shed itself is secure. See our article on Shed Security at