Thursday, March 29, 2012

Secure garden scheme to boost home security (in Clacton)

The ‘Secured by Design’ initiative is designed to help people cut down on crime and feel safer by putting security measures in place.
The garden has been set up at Parker’s Garden Company centre at Kirby Cross.
Crime reduction officer Dave Gillies from Clacton police station said: “The garden has been designed so that members of the public can see for themselves what products are available and how best to use them to protect homes and belongings.
“It shows that you do not need to live in a fortress to feel safe.
“By applying the principles on show you can significantly reduce the risk of being a victim of crime."
The demonstration garden was launched by Superintendant Adrian Coombs and will be a permanent feature for people to look at.
The security measures on display include devices like locks and alarms.
It also shows off ways of arranging a garden to make it more secure, including using prickly defensive plants and gravel to generate noise.
(Reproduced from the Clacton Gazette, 29th March)
Gardien Comment: An excellent initiative - full advice on minimising garden crime and first class security products can be found at

Stolen front lawn leaves Ipswich man in state of disbelief

An Ipswich man has said he cannot believe people "would stoop so low" as to steal his artificial front lawn.

Steve Woolnough said his wife was the first to notice the 100-ft-sq turf was missing from the front garden of their home in Bramford Lane.
"I didn't believe it," he said. "A few expletives were uttered."

He added: "I haven't got a clue why anyone would take it, but the hosepipe ban is coming in and maybe someone wanted it for their own garden."
He said he bought the turf for £130 about six years ago after his grass turned yellow and brown in the summer and it would cost about £250 to replace.

Mr Woolnough said the turf, which was not stuck down, was too heavy for one person to carry and thieves probably used a vehicle to take it away.
'Fall off chair'
He said: "I phoned the police and said 'I'd like to report a theft'.

"The guy said 'what's been stolen?' and I said 'the Astro Turf from my front garden'.
"I paused because I thought he would fall off his chair, but he was very professional."

A spokesperson for Suffolk Police said: "It would have taken some time to remove such a large quantity of Astro Turf from this garden and needed a vehicle to take it away.
"Officers want to speak to anyone who may have seen any suspicious persons or vehicles in this area overnight Monday/Tuesday last week."

(Reproduced from BBC News, 29th March 2012)

Gardien Comment: This incident merely proves our point that nothing is really safe. You have to make it as awkward as you can for people to enetr your property and use suitable alarms / lighting to deter would-be thieves. Advice and products can be found at

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shed a light on garden theft

A shed in the corner of a rear garden.Officers in Gateshead are urging residents to weed out garden thieves by protecting their sheds, garages and gardens.
Following some simple advice from police could help protect your belongings and prevent opportunitist thieves stealing valuable items from your shed, garage or garden.
Put away all tools and equipment and ensure that all outside sheds and store cupboards are securely locked when not in use 
Bring the tools inside if you do not have a garden shed or outbuilding 
Do not store your valuable property outside, such as bikes and expensive gardening equipment 
All valuable property should be marked and registered online at sites such as 
If you have to keep bikes in a shed lock them to an immovable object 
Do not help thieves by buying garden tools or bikes which you believe may be stolen or you do not know where they have come from.  If they are stolen you may be arrested and will certainly have them taken off you by the police. 
Use plant protection - such as thorny shrubs- around your garden area where possible 
Install outside security lighting sensors 
If you have a burglar alarm, why not extend it to cover outbuildings and sheds? 
Photograph valuable garden plants or ornaments 
Mark your property with your postcode. This makes stolen property easier to trace and it can be positively identified as yours 
Check that your household insurance policy covers theft from your garden and outbuildings. 
If you have a local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, why not join?

Inspector Paul Hamilton of the South Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "This advice can deter criminals from your property. Most burglars are lazy. They look for easy ways of getting into a house or garden. By taking a few simple precautions you can reduce the risk of being burgled and make your house and garden more secure.
"Following this advice could save you a lot of money and inconvenience over the summer months.
"If you do witness any suspicious behaviour around your property or your neighbours' property, please do contact the police."
Inspector Hamilton will be tweeting and posting regular tips and crime prevention advice over the coming summer months on Twitter @NPgateshead #crimeprevention
Police can also be contacted by calling 101 ext 6919,
(Reproduced from  28th March 2012)
Gardien Comment: All the products you need to implement the above advice can be found at

Flower theft in Davenham sparks anger among residents

AN ANGRY Davenham resident is calling on her neighbours to be vigilant after a hanging basket was taken from her garden.

The 29-year-old, who lives in Firthfields but does not want to be named, said primroses from a container in her front garden had been ‘swiped’ just as they had gone into full bloom.
The gardening enthusiast said a trail of soil had been left on the floor after the plants were taken in the early hours of March 26.
She said: “We spend our hard-earned money on a few plants and do not expect them to be stolen.
“I would like people to keep watch over their gardens and their neighbour’s property to ensure this greedy behaviour stops.
“It may be a small thing to be stolen but it means a lot to us and is a violation of our property.”
To report a crime, call Cheshire Police on 101
(Reproduced from Northwich Guardian, 28th March)
Gardien Comment: It is clearly impossible to prevent all thefts but common sense precautions can minimise opportunities. See for advice and security products

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Don’t become a victim of crime in spring

All too often police get reports of people who have come in from the garden to find someone has slipped through a front or back door and grabbed easily removable items such as handbags or wallets – or even keys and the family car.
Most thieves are lazy opportunists and if they see a door left open, or possibly unlocked with the owner engrossed elsewhere they will not hesitate to take advantage of the situation.
Police sergeant Dave Layton-Scott said: ““It may seem inconvenient to have to lock the door when you pop out to do some gardening, but it is a lot less time consuming than changing locks, filling in insurance forms and replacing property.
“People should also think about the security of their garages, sheds and outbuildings at this time of year because there is a ready market for items such as lawnmowers and gardening equipment, which should always be security marked.”
Other ways to deter burglars include:
Fit outside security lights and put gates across side passages
Leave lights and a radio on when you go out
Double check fences and boundaries for weak spots
Fit security features such as window locks, patio door locks and a burglar alarm
Never leave keys under mats and flower pots, it’s the first place burglars look
Keep an eye out for strangers in your street, especially if they are selling property door to door. If you are suspicious, call the police.
Help protect your neighbourhood by joining Neighbourhood Watch, or becoming a co-ordinator
And remember always security mark your property.
Anyone with information about burglary, or believes someone may be selling stolen property, can contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence, on 101 or text information to 07786 200011.
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111
(Reproduced from Luton Today, 23rd March)
Gardien Comment: All the above is excellent advice - for more advice and security products, visit  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Council springs into action with crime campaign

Operation Rascal is being promoted by the Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership with the aim of keeping burglaries at the current low rate and maintaining the Dales’ status as one of the safest places in England.
Recent warm weather has prompted the partnership, which includes Derbyshire Dales District Council, the police and the county council, to remind local people that they can prevent shed burglaries by buying discounted shed alarms at just £4 a time at police stations throughout the Dales.
Free warning signs are also available from Derbyshire Dales District Council’s Matlock Town Hall headquarters and from Dales police stations.
Last summer a mobile police unit toured Derbyshire Dales towns and villages to warn local people not to make it easy for opportunist thieves to target garden sheds.
A partnership team including Derbyshire Dales District Council’s crime and disorder reduction officer Karen Cooper helped residents fit safety equipment and offered advice about protecting their properties from opportunist thieves.
The mobile police unit will visit Grindleford on April 2 and on April 14 moves on to Shirley (outside the village pub) from 1 to 1.50pm, Brailsford Institute 2 to 2.50pm, Hulland Ward next to the fuel station 3.10 to 4pm and Kniveton close to the school 4.15 to 5pm.
Derbyshire Dales District Council leader, Cllr Lewis Rose OBE, who is also chairman of the Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership said: “Home Office figures confirm the Derbyshire Dales remains among the safest places in England, and partnership campaigns such as Operation Rascal contribute to this encouraging statistic, making the Dales such a great place to live, work and visit.”
Derbyshire Dales Partnership Sergeant Garry Staples said: “In the spring and summer wooden sheds can become a target for thieves and the main aim of Operation Rascal is to encourage local people to take steps to protect expensive items such as mountain bikes, motorbikes, golf clubs, DIY power tools, lawn mowers and other garden equipment.
“The shed alarms made available as part of Operation Rascal are a great deterrent. They usually retail at around £8 but are being sold for just £4 thanks to a subsidy by the Community Safety Partnership.”
In addition to fitting a shed alarm and door chimes, local people are urged to keep their sheds safe by following these simple suggestions:
Protect the boundary and access of your garden with fences, walls and lockable gates.
-Locate your shed in your garden so you can clearly see the door and window of the shed from your house.
-Use a good quality padlock/hasp or mortice lock on the door. If using a hasp, ensure the screws are covered and cannot be accessed by a screw driver.
-Ensure the hinges cannot be easily removed.
-Make sure the doors and panels of the shed are strong enough not to be kicked in or forced.
-Cover the windows and fit Perspex or laminated glass which will offer good protection.
-Cover the shed with a security light.
-Use a ground or wall anchor to secure your bike or other valuables in the shed.
-Lock valuables together to prevent them being easily removed.
-Visibly and permanently mark your property. It helps identify it as yours and is less desirable for a thief.
For further advice contact your local Safer Neighbourhood policing team on 101
(Reproduced from Ripley & Heanor News 23rd March)
Gardien Comment: .Products to fit the above suggestions can be found at along with additional products such as the Shed Bar which forms a highly visible and effective deterrent.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thieves steal collection of five lawnmowers

FOR years he’s been collecting the green machines that help gardens cut a dash in the stripes stakes.
But now lawnmower afficionado Ian Wallis, who painstakingly restores the machines as his hobby, fears several of his prize items will be sold off as scrap - after thieves broke into his allotment shed.
Ian, aged 39, has been collecting lawnmowers since he took a horticultural course at college 15 years ago.
Over the years he has built up a collection of mowers and other garden machinery which he has lovingly restored and brought back into working use.
But five of his machines were stolen when thieves ransacked the shed on his allotment - and he thinks they may be sold off as scrap for just a few pounds.
Ian, of Willoughby Street, Page Hall, Sheffield, said he is keen to hear from anyone who is offered the lawnmowers to buy, or who sees them for sale at car boot sales.
Mr Wallis said: “I have been collecting and restoring old garden machinery, particularly lawnmowers, for 15 years.
“I first started while I was at college on a horticultural course. So for my collection to have been stolen is really disappointing.
“I imagine they will probably just be sold off for a few pounds for their scrap metal value, whereas to me they have much more value.
“I suppose there is a chance that they could end up at car boot sales over the summer, so there is some hope I might get them back.”
The lawnmowers are believed to have been stolen last Sunday evening, from Ian’s allotment plot off Wincobank Lane, where he spends many of his days while he is out of work.
“I spend most of my time at the allotment and have restored the lawnmowers to bring them back into use - so the theft represents years and years of my hard work.”
Ian is a member of the Vintage Horticultural Club and the Old Lawnmower Club, where members use their contacts to source old spare parts for their machines.
“The lawnmowers will be useless to the everyday gardener because they won’t be able to get any spare parts for them,” added Ian.
Anyone with information about the theft should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from The Star, Sheffield 22nd March)
Gardien Comment: See the article on Shed Security at

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Garden raiders steal bicycles

Thieves stole two bicycles by clambering over a backyard wall. The theft happened on Christ Church Street, off Hartington Road, in Preston, between 5pm on Friday and 7am on Monday. The thieves stole a grey Carrera Subway bike and a red men’s mountain bike that were chained together.

(Reproduced from Lancs Evening Post Crime File 21st March)

Gardien Comment: See the article on Bike Security at

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Crime prevention tips at garden centre

GREEN fingered residents in Chesterfield will be given tips on how to keep their lawnmowers safe during a crime prevention event at a local garden centre.
Neighbourhood policing officers are working with Dunston Hall Garden Centre to offer advice and free safety equipment following a number of shed break-ins.
Officers from the Dunston, Moor and St Helen’s Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team will be at the garden centre from 1pm on Monday, March 19 giving away free shed alarms and tamper proof screws to visitors.
They will also be offering advice on how to make your property less attractive to thieves by installing security lighting, locking garden gates and using gravel as a deterrent.
Police Community Support Officer Hannah Blockwell said: “At this time of year we generally see an increase in the number of shed burglaries, with thieves often targeting new gardening equipment.
“Many visitors to the garden centre will be keen gardeners and may have expensive tools so our advice will be especially relevant to them.”
Garden centre owner Nigel Simm said he was pleased to be working with police on the initiative and would encourage customers to consider increased security measures.
He added: “We feel that it is important to make customers aware of the need to protect their outbuildings and sheds against theft. To some gardeners, their tools, some of which may have been acquired over many years, are more precious than some household possessions.
“We are inviting Derbyshire Constabulary to demonstrate the various security options available to customers, with a view to stocking the recommended locks they will need to make sheds and outbuildings secure.”
For more information or crime prevention advice contact your local Safer Neighbourhood policing team by calling 101 or visit the website
(Reproduced from Derbyshire Times, 13th March 2012)
Gardien Comment: See the article on Shed Security at

Garden thefts rise by 25pc as evenings get lighter

Green-fingered home owners are being warned to secure their sheds and garages as the lighter evenings mean a spike in garden theft.

Analysis of ten years of claims data from Aviva has shown that thefts from gardens and outbuildings shoot up by over a quarter when the clocks go forward at the end of March – with the average haul totalling around £850.
Figures show that thefts from outside the home start to increase as evenings get lighter at the beginning of March with a 10pc increase compared to the dark nights of January.
Claims then steadily increase as the days get longer and lighter until they reach their peak in July and August when they are almost 40pc higher than at the beginning of the year.
Peter Ketteringham, household underwriting manager at Aviva, said: "Extra hours of sunlight are obviously very welcome after months of darkness, but it also means that your expensive power tools, bikes and golf clubs are more visible than ever to a passing thief, as is your home security – or lack of it."
Mr Ketteringham said householders should ensure sheds and summerhouses are properly secured and gardens are cleared each evening reducing temptation for criminals.
"Bear in mind that loose items like ladders and wheelie bins are perfect for burglars to use to get into your home, so shut them away, out of sight if you can," he said.
Most home insurance policies already have garden cover included, but households must consider the level of cover provided to make sure they are not underinsured.
When considering how much protection is required, bear in mind costly appliances such as patio heaters, barbecues and lawnmowers which may be stored in the shed. Those who keep items such as bikes or gym equipment in their outdoor sheds will also require cover, so it's important to keep these as secure as possible to ensure your insurance remains valid.
Gardien Comment: See the article on Shed Security at

Garden crime 'rockets by 25%' when clocks go forward

Green-fingered homeowners are being warned to secure their sheds and garages as British summertime brings a spike in theft from the great outdoors.
Analysis of 10 years of claims data from Aviva reveals that burglaries in gardens and outbuildings leap by more than 25 per cent when the clocks go forward, with the average haul totalling around £850.
The insurer said 42 per cent of thefts last summer were for power tools, including electric drills, planers and saws, while 39 per cent were for simple hand tools like spades, shovels, rakes and forks.
However, 19 per cent of items stolen included electric and petrol lawnmowers, chainsaws and ladders, according to the study.
Thefts from outside the home start to increase as evenings get lighter at the beginning of March, with a 10 per cent increase compared with the dark nights of January, Aviva’s analysis suggests.
Peter Ketteringham, household underwriting manager, said: “Extra hours of sunlight are obviously very welcome after months of darkness, but it also means that your expensive power tools, bikes and golf clubs are more visible than ever to a passing thief.”

(Reproduced from  12th March)

Gardien Comment: All the advice you need and top class security products can be found at

Friday, March 9, 2012

Theft toll grows in Chippenham

Burglars are targeting at least two properties a night in the Chippenham area, with thousands of pounds worth of equipment stolen from sheds and garages in just one month.
Police are keen to warn residents and businesses of a growing spate of raids on outbuildings, estimated at more than 60 in the last month, which has seen everything from mountain bikes, to drills and chainsaws, stolen.
Concerns have been raised that there could be a group coordinating the attacks around the town, although other theories have not been discounted.
Police Inspector Martin Schorah, who covers the Chippenham area, said: “We have an analyst working on the information now and we have been looking at the local trends and patterns of these crimes.
“We are looking to capture all the forensic opportunities that we can. We are beginning to build up a picture but it still doesn’t tell us if they are local or from outside the area.”
In the last few days alone there have been numerous break-ins, including at commercial premises, such as at Hillside Business Park, Biddestone, where a chainsaw and hedgecutters worth about £10,000 were taken from a commercial premises overnight on March 1.
On the same night, Moto X gear, hedgecutters and a camera were taken from a premise in Glebe Meadow when burglars entered through a sky light.
In Little Down, residents of one property awoke to find two of their mountain bikes, worth £650 each, had been stolen, after burglars unscrewed the door hinges to their shed at some point overnight on February 29.
On March 2, thieves gained entry through an unlocked garage doors to steal a chop saw worth £800/£900 in London Road, and only a few days earlier their neighbours had also been targeted.
One of those left counting the cost of one of the raids is Peter McCourt from the Langley Road area of Chippenham. He was at home with his wife Celia and three-year-old daughter when their garage was broken in to on Tuesday night.
“We heard a noise at about 1.30am but just put it down to the wind unfortunately,” said Mr MCourt, 35.
“Obviously I’m very disappointed that my property has been broken into and I have lost some items which are very important to me.”
The couple realised they had been broken into when Mrs McCourt went outside and saw that the door had been forced off its hinges.
Among the high value items stolen was a 29-inch wheel Gary Fisher mountain bike, estimated to be worth £1,200.
It is off-white and is a made-to-measure design.
A second mountain bike and a chainsaw were also taken.
Chippenham beat manager PC Rachel Webb said: “There have been an unwelcome increase in thefts from sheds during
“We often find an increase in thefts at this time of year with people stealing bikes, garden machinery and so on.
We urge people to help themselves by improving security, considering better locks, marking property, infra-red lighting and so on.
“Householders can also join Neighbourhood Watch.
“We will be conducting both high visibility patrols and undercover operations to prevent and detect these offences.”
If you have any information that can help the police call them on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. For further details on the Neighbourhood Watch contact PC Webb on 101.
(Reproduced from Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, March 9th 2012)
Gardien Comment: Don't wait until you become a victim. Check out the advice and quality security products at  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Police investigate Narberth garden theft

Police are investigating after two large flower pots and a cast iron black bulldog were stolen from the garden of a property in Mill Lane, Narberth. 
The theft occurred sometime between 10 am on Sunday, February 19, and 10 am on Tuesday, February 21. 
The two large flower pots were removed from the front garden, while the bulldog, two-foot x one-foot, was taken from beside the front door. 
Police say persons responsible possibly used a vehicle to remove the items as they were quite large and heavy. 
Anyone with information about any persons/vehicles seen acting suspiciously in the area at the time of the incident is asked to contact PC1048 Jackie Howells at the town’s police station on 101. 

(Reproduced from Narberth & Whitland Observer, March 2nd)

Gardien Comment: See the advice re Outdoor Items at