Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fish stolen from garden pond in Saham Toney, near Watton

Dozens of Koi Carp fish worth around £5,000 were stolen from a garden pond.
The theft happened in Bell Lane, Saham Toney, near Watton, between 11am on Wednesday, October 19 and 9.30am the following day.

More than 45 fish were taken after the thieves forced open a side gate leading into the garden and emptied the pond.
Officers are keen to speak to anyone who may have spotted anyone acting suspiciously in the area or who may have recently been offered Koi Carp for sale in suspicious circumstances.
Witnesses are asked to contact PC Carl Evans at Norfolk police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111

(Reproduced from  29th Oct 2011)

Gardien Comment: Clearly the gate was not strong enough and so illegal entry to the garden was too easy. Alarms are also available to protect the pond itself - Roboguard is now available from Gardien, for information see

Friday, October 28, 2011

Five ways to protect your property from criminals

The number of reported burglaries rose by 26% in the week between Halloween and Bonfire night last year, according to new research.
During this week last year, there were 3,742 burglaries reported, compared to a weekly average of 2,995 for the rest of the year. And Bonfire night is the worst day of the year for break-ins, says Aviva.
Over the past 10 years, there has been a whopping 150% rise in ‘malicious' damage claims to homes, including smashed windows and damage to garden property, in the week from 30 October to 5 November. Claims for car damage have also shot up 50% and reports of car theft are up by 20%.
Strathclyde saw the highest number of reported burglaries last year, with a 57% increase on the previous year. Next on the list was Northamptonshire with a 53% rise, and third was South Wales with a 45% rise.
Rob Townend, property claims director for Aviva, says: "Unfortunately, the combination of darker nights and a mischievous occasion like Halloween or a noisy one like Bonfire Night present too good an opportunity for some criminals to resist. These are real hotspots in the crime calendar when homes and cars can be more at risk than any other time in the year.
"Obviously, theft and malicious damage are covered as standard by your home insurance if the worst does happen, but it's best to take steps to avoid having the worry of being a victim of crime in the first place."
Five tips for protecting your property from criminals
1. Keep your car in the garage and if it's on the road make sure there are no valuables in sight.
2. Move garden ornaments, bikes, and potted plants out of sight.
3. Don't answer the door on Halloween night and if you're heading out leave a light on so your house looks occupied and make sure burglar alarms are activated.
4. Check the locks are working on sheds, greenhouses and garages and keep your windows and doors locked if you're in the garden.
5. Make sure you have adequate insurance to cover any losses should you be unfortunate enough to have your home broken into or damaged. When buying insurance make sure you read all the smallprint to ensure you're fully covered against all eventualities.

(Reproduced from  27th Oct 2011)

Gardien Comment: These statistics support the theory that the darker evenings lead to more house and garden crime. Since most burglars enter a property via the rear garden, it is essential to look at protecting the garden, shed etc. Advice and products are available at   

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

‘Light the night’ at library (Hartlepool)

RESIDENTS will be urged to “light up the night” during a crime prevention session in a library.
With the longer nights drawing in and the clocks set to go back, crime prevention officers in Hartlepool are urging householders to think about security.
They say the dark is welcoming for criminals who can sneak around without being seen. But there are simple steps that can be taken to make their task harder.
A Light the Night Against Crime event is being held at Hartlepool’s Central Library, in York Road, where residents can get free advice and also buy discounted light timers and night lights.
PC Steve Cranston, a crime prevention officer, will be among the advisors at the event between 11am-1pm on Thursday.
PC Cranston said: “By constantly reiterating the message to residents about ways in which they can prevent themselves from becoming a victim of crime we ensure that we can stay one step ahead of the criminals.
“I would urge residents to spend some time with us at the library and take advantage of the advice we have to offer.” he added.
Householders are urged to use timer switches or to leave lights on if their home is unoccupied to reduce burglaries throughout the winter months.
Lights with sensors on the outside of houses, sheds and garages are said to be a good deterrent.
Officers are also encouraging householders to fit key-operated window locks to windows that are easily accessible and to keep doors locked when they are inside, but keep keys in a safe place in case of an emergency.
Mortice bolts at the top and bottom of any external doors are also advised and people are reminded to always set burglar alarms overnight.
Although crime continues to fall, Hartlepool Police, working in conjunction with Hartlepool Crime Prevention Panel, say they want to ensure it stays that way and to raise awareness of home security.

(Reproduced from Hartlepool Mail  26th Oct 2011)

Gardien Comment:  The easy way into most properties is via the garden, and the shed is then the number one target, if only to find tools to break into the house. See the article on Shed Security at

Bikes stolen from a garden

Two bicycles were stolen from the garden of a home. The thief targeted the home in Callon Street, Callon, Preston, between 5.30pm and 8pm on Sunday. A child’s black BMX was stolen as well as a Tiger mountain bike which were worth £80 each. Anyone with information is asked to call 08451 253545

(Reproduced from Lancashire Evening Post, 25th Oct 2011)

Gardien Comment: The distress caused to children after such thefts is serious and should be avoided if possible. See the article on Bike Security at

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bootle dad says it is time to nail down his front garden after turf theft

A BOOTLE dad fears he now has to 'nail down his lawn ' after thieves stole a patch of artificial turf from his front garden.
Liverpool FC fan Billy Graham is in a state of ‘disbelief’ after thieves made off with a 6ft x 8ft section of his front garden while he was watching television with his wife at home.
Billy, who lives on the corner of Oxford Road and Fernhill Road, suspect the heavy section of bright green plastic grass was dumped in to a waiting vehicle by the thieves.
He is now appealing for its return.
The dad decided to lay down the artificial turf in his back garden a couple of years ago for his three teenage sons to play football on, although the section of plastic grass in the front was purely decorative.
The Graham family are all Liverpool FC fans and Billy's sons have all played for local side Northfield JFC.
Billy, 43, said: “At first I thought it was a joke by kids and I would find the turf at the side of my house.
“But no – it was actually stolen and bundled into a vehicle at the side of my house.
“I have worked all my life and put all my money in to this house for my family.
“I just think it is wrong that people can just come and help themselves to my property.
“Last year thieves made off with the goalposts in the back garden.
“When I bought a replacement someone tried to steal that, but fortunately one of my neighbours gave chase and got the goals back.
“ I am normally very proud of my town and will defend it against any bad comments from outsiders.
“I was born and bred in Bootle and I always stand up for the place, but now I feel like I have to nail down the grass in my own garden.
“The police are taking this matter seriously.
“If any of your readers notice their neighbour has suddenly got a 6ft piece of deep green plastic turf in their garden can you ask them to let the police know.”
A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: “We can confirm that an unwitnessed theft was reported to them on October 14.
“The victims, a 43-year-old man and his wife, reported that at around 8pm on October 12 a piece of plastic turf was stolen from their garden.
“A police officer has spoken to the couple and advised them of the benefits of installing CCTV as well as offering other crime prevention advice.
“Police community support officers will continue to patrol the area where the theft occurred.”
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call 0151 709 6010 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from 20th Oct 2011)

Gardien Comment:  If it is not possible to easily prevent access to the rear garden, then CCTV or a cheaper suitable alarm system will minimise the risk of unwanted visitors. For advice and products see 

Garden and shed thefts rise by 13%

The number of thefts from outside homes, gardens and sheds rose by 13% over the last year, figures show.
Levels of such crimes have generally remained steady for the last six years and the increase comes despite overall crime levels remaining stable, figures from the British Crime Survey show.
A total of 1,314 incidents were reported in the 12 months to June, compared with just 1,167 incidents between July 2009 and June 2010, the BCS figures show.
The British Crime Survey (BCS), based on interviews with tens of thousands of people in more than 45,000 households, also showed increases in lower-level theft offences, such as pick-pocketing, shoplifting and thefts from homes by workmen.
Read More

(Reproduced from Wales Online 20th Oct 2011)

Gardien Comment: We suspect that the vast majority of such crimes go unreported and the true figures are very much higher. Advice re Shed Security can be found at

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tandem hire firm counts cost of theft

A tandem cycle enthusiast is appealing for help after thieves stole four of her hire bikes from her Blackbird Leys back garden.
Student Patricia Kacprzak and her boyfriend started a hire business earlier this year, buying eight tandem cycles to rent to tourists.

The 24-year-old, who has lived in Blackbird Leys for three years since moving to the UK from Poland, told the Oxford Mail: “They were stolen from our back garden, each one is worth about £400.
“We only started trading early this year when the season started.”
The thieves struck while Miss Kacprzak and boyfriend Milan Miskolczi, 30, were asleep on October 3rd.
She said: “One of our housemates looked through the window in the morning and realised that the cover was lifted and something seemed to be missing.
“We were shocked. We really did not expect this, we feel very disappointed and a bit empty.
“We’ve started to feel a bit insecure and are making sure that we have definitely locked everything up.”
The thieves removed a fence panel to get into the back garden before making off with the cycles.
Police later spotted one of the bikes being ridden in Blackbird Leys on October 5 but the person on it ran off before officers could stop him.
They did however recover the bike, which is now being examined by forensic experts.
Miss Kacprzak, who said they had spent about £5,000 setting up the business, added: “We really thought that starting our own business would be a good way of dealing with the current economic climate.
“Being healthy and sporty is our hobby as well and so we thought we could combine the two things for a little bit of extra income.
“Milan used to do triathalons when he was younger.
“We looked around for a business idea and found this, and thought it was a good idea that would be popular in Oxford.”
She added: “We believe somebody has watched us on Saturday when we were out riding with friends and then planned this. You can’t see over the fence.
“The police have acted quickly.
“They recovered a bike, but they didn’t catch the boy.”
Anyone with information should call Pc Ben Jones on 08458 505505 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111

(Reproduced from The Oxford Mail, 18th Oct 2011)

Gardien Tip: Free advice on Bike Security is available at

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Roadshow has advice to stop rural crime

With a spate of thefts from farms and rural properties across the county, police are encouraging people to attend a security road show next month. The thefts of metal, fuel, farming equipment and garden ornaments are costing victims thousands of pounds, and police believe some may be the work of organised gangs.
Rural crime team PCSO John Bordiss said the force was taking the problem seriously but prevention and detection would improve if people upped their security.
“Rural crime is on the rise, it is part of a national trend at the moment, as metal prices are high and the countryside is a very open place,” he said.
“But there are lots of options for people looking to improve their security and mark their property, and that is what these roadshows are intended to demonstrate.”
The roadshow will take place at the Rye Hill Barn in Longbridge Deverill, near Warminster, on November 2.
The rural crime team, local officers, and experts in security, insurance and farming will offer visitors advice and guidance.
Visitors can also sign up to the Wiltshire Farm-watch and Horsewatch schemes, which use text message and email alerts to notify members of suspicious/criminal activities.
The free event runs from 10am to 4pm and includes saddle stamping and refreshments. Call 101 for more information.

(Reproduced from The Wiltshire Times, 15th Oct 2011)

Gardien Comment: The products to help minimise such crime can be found at

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fuel Theft now a major problem

With the dark nights coming in and the clocks soon to go back the opportunities for thieves are again on the increase. Fuel theft has become a major problem, particularly in rural areas, and due precautions should be taken to minimise the risk of loss. Thieves have no scruples at all and they can do a lot of damage by drilling into tanks or cutting fuel lines and siphoning off fuel in a few short minutes.

Sadly, rising unemployment and fear of a worsening recession is leading to an increase in garden crime so it is time to take defensive action, especially if the fuel tank is sited at a distance from the property.  Alarms such as the Garden Laser Tripwire ( can warn of an unwanted approach and high-quality insurance rated padlocks should always be used to secure any doors / flaps on the tank. Depending on the proximity of the tank to the property (for mains power), a CCTV system such as Guardcam ( will record the activity at a good enough quality to support a prosecution, and its floodlight will probably scare off the intruders anyway.

Posted by Gardien Ltd  13th Oct 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bike security: the home front

Two-thirds of bikes get stolen in or around the home. What's the best way to protect yuors when it's off duty?

With an estimated half million-plus bikes stolen in the UK every year, it's no surprise that security is a perennial topic on cycling blogs and forums. Typically these tend to centre around preventing theft when you're out and about – which locks (or combination of locks) are most thief-resistant, ways to make your bike less attractive, that sort of stuff.
But there is another, often neglected side to this: what to do you do with your treasured machine when you're at home? This is, in fact, the more important part of the problem.
According to the British Crime Survey – the most valuable gauge of the subject given that it records people's experiences and not whether they reported it to the police, something many bike theft victims don't bother with – well over two-thirds of cycles are stolen in or near the owner's home.
The bulk of these, just over 60% of all the thefts, took place in the immediate area around the home, for example bikes left in a shed, in a garden or locked up on the street outside.
There's a few hard and fast rules when it comes to not losing your bike this way. To begin with, if at all possible, don't leave it locked up overnight on the street or somewhere else where it's visible from the street, like a front garden.
A reformed former thief told the Bike blog last year how he'd roam the streets looking for suitably nick-able machines routinely left in the same spots. If they're there after dark they're easy pickings for an experienced gang in a van filled with bolt croppers and angle grinders.
An addendum to this rule is that you should never lock your bike to the iron railings outside many Victorian homes. As a friend found to his cost, a sharp hit with a hammer will generally snap the railing, another favourite thieves' trick.
Of course, not everyone has the space (or the desire) to keep a bike or bikes inside their homes, and even if you're able to leave it in a communal hallway or corridor it's not necessarily much safer.
There's no straightforward answer to this. Designers are busy working on creative new ways to keep bikes safe both inside and out of the home. A Home Office-sponsored Design Council competition earlier this year came up with some interesting ideas, though nothing astonishingly new: a few clever-ish widgets to lock bikes to a fixed item in hallways, plus a variant on the metal bike sheds which have sprung up around some front gardens in recent years.
But it's worth thinking hard about what would be the greater inconvenience: sharing a bit of your flat or house with a grubby, oily bike or, quite possibly, not having a bike any more.
The other rule goes for those who do have a garden, yard, or side lane in which to keep their bike: even if it's out of sight of the road, it still needs to be locked up to something. It's the bike thieves' other standard routine to trawl the gardens of an entire street, loading a van with unlocked bikes, or those locked just to themselves.
This is where I'll offer up my own recipe for you (and your bike) to sleep securely at night – take some tips from our friends in the world of motorcycling.
If you're willing to spend the money on home-only security (and again, it's worth balancing the admittedly high cost against the financial and mental anguish of possibly losing your bike) then you can forget about weight and size and delight in locks hefty enough to anchor an average-sized battleship.
I recently moved into a flat in a 1940s block where residents can rent garages on the site, a big selling point for someone whose bike collection now numbers somewhere between "several" and "a small fleet". My garage is tucked round the back, well out of sight of the road but, equally, far enough from the flats to potentially interest an opportunistic thief.
I spent a recent afternoon installing a hefty ground anchor, to which my bikes are now attached with a very long, alarmingly heavy, motorbike chain. Both of these are certified by the Sold Secure industry scheme as gold motorbike standard, significantly more thief-proof than the bicycle equivalent.
No security system is invulnerable, of course, but cutting the chain would most likely need a significant amount of time using power tools, something few thieves would risk for such a relatively insignificant haul.
It also wasn't cheap, not far short of £200 also counting the hire of a very macho heavy-duty cordless drill to install the ground anchor in the concrete floor. But a high proportion of this was spent on a particularly long chain, something people with a more sensible number of bikes won't need.
And now, as we inevitably say on such posts – over to you. What are your handy tips for bike home security? And have you made any costly mistakes?

(Reproduced from an article by Peter Walker,  12th October 2011)

Gardien tip:  See the article on Bike Security at

Monday, October 3, 2011

Scrap metal thieves take kids’ swing from Portsmouth garden

NAN Beryl Davis has been left angry after scrap metal thieves took a children’s swing from her front garden.
The 70-year-old had planned to donate grandson Jake’s swing to Community Spirit in Copnor Road, Copnor, as he has outgrown it.
But it was stolen from outside the front of her home in Locarno Road, Copnor, before she had a chance.
Beryl had laid the frame flat on the ground, out of view of passers-by, and then headed straight to the community hub to ask someone to collect it.
When she returned two hours later, she discovered the metal frame had disappeared – but the plastic bucket seat was still on her doorstep.
It was only when she took the seat into the shop, thinking the organisation had forgotten it, that Beryl realised she had become the latest victim in a spate of metal thefts.
The grandmother said: ‘I was absolutely devastated when I realised what had happened.
‘I thought I was doing a good turn by donating it and now I feel like that’s been taken away from me.
‘Jake and my granddaughter Shazia both used it when they were younger and they had so much fun in it, but they’re too big for it now.
‘We all got a lot of enjoyment out of the swing and that’s why I wanted to pass it on to another family.’
Police confirmed they are treating the incident as a metal theft, and said there has been a rise in similar thefts across the area as the price of metal has increased.
Lorraine Taynton, founder of Community Spirit, said: ‘The amount of times I hear about this sort of thing happening is getting ridiculous.
‘That swing could’ve benefited a family on a low income but now it’s not benefiting anyone except the thieves and I’m so annoyed about that.
‘This shop is all about putting things back into the community at a low cost, and people have been asking me for garden toys ever since we opened.
‘And the first chance I have to give them something like that, it gets pinched.’
As well as selling donated goods, the organisation runs free community classes and workshops, from cross stitch to growing vegetables in the shop’s back garden.
The theft took place some time between 10.30am and 12.30pm on Monday, September 26. Call police on 101 if you can help.

(Reproduced from The News (Portsmouth) 3rd October 2011

Gardien Tip: Metal theft is now at epidemic proportions and stolen items are soon sold on as scrap. It is important, therefore, to minimise access to places where metal items exist. See our advice at