Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Darlington cyclists urged to secure their bikes following increase in thefts


CYCLISTS are being warned about an increase in bike thefts in Darlington.

Police say opportunistic thieves have been taking advantage when bikes have been left insecure in public places, or being left in gardens or yards.
From February 1 to May 14 this year, 77 bike theft offences were recorded in Darlington, with 49 of them taken after being left insecure.
Officers are urging people to invest in a good quality lock to secure bikes both in public places and while at home, as 41 bikes were taken from a garden or a yard.
Inspector Mick Button said: “Darlington is one of these places where a lot of people ride bikes. What we want is for the community to make it more difficult for people to take their bikes.
“If you’ve got an expensive bike, don’t use a flimsy lock to secure it. People should mark their bikes, record the frame number and never leave it insecure.
“If you are going to put it in a shed, make sure you have got a secure shed.”
For more information on how to secure your bike, visit
(Reproduced from The Northern Echo, 19th June)
Gardien Comment: see also the article on Bike Security at

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Heartbreak after £7,000 worth of plants are stolen

The owner of a small garden nursery has spoken of her heartbreak after £7,000 worth of plants were taken by thieves.

Sue Huckle, 54, said she burst in to tears when she found 10 gold crested spiral trees, 10 bay leaf trees, hydrangeas, and other potted plants had been taken from her business in East Tuddenham, near Dereham.
The nursery, Posh Plants, based at Mrs Huckle’s home on Common Road in the mid Norfolk village, has been hiring out high-end horticulture to shops, such as John Lewis, and businesses in Norfolk for the past 15 years and were due to be at the Royal Norfolk Show next week.
Mrs Huckle made the discovery on Saturday morning when she noticed the decorative seven foot tall plants, many which have been growing for 20 years, were gone.
She said the thieves had broken the lock on the gate, and parked outside where they loaded the distinctive and heavy plants in.
“I love my work, and to think that someone helped themselves to them is heartbreaking”, she said.
“I have built this business up to something which is making me a living. It’s taken a lot of hard work and that’s why it’s so soul-destroying.
“The night the plants were stolen I had done a 14 hour day, but I really love doing it.
“It’s not just financial, but it’s the fact that I have spent so much time on the plants, they’re really special.”
Because of this season’s poor weather, Mrs Huckle said it would take two or three years for any new plants to grow back to the size of the stolen ones.
“In the horticultural trade everything has been so late, so we don’t need more problems like this”, she said.
Norfolk police have said they are appealing for information about the theft which they say happened between 9pm on Friday June 14 and 8.30am on Saturday June 15.
A spokesman said: “The offenders cut the lock on the gate to gain entry to the site and then stole in excess of four thousand pounds worth of plants, including ten gold crested spiral trees, several twisted stem bay trees, and a number of hydrangeas.”
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact PC Sarah Fleet at Dereham Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
(Reproduced from Eastern Daily Press, 18th June)
Gardien Comment: Obviously a targeted theft - access to the garden needed to be much more difficult and an intruder alarm would also have helped to deter theft. Solutions are available at

Monday, June 17, 2013

War declared on burglars in bid to beat summer outbreak of shed raids in Sunderland


THOUSANDS of leaflets are to be handed out in a bid to stop thieves operating across Sunderland. Police are hoping to increase awareness of shed burglaries which always see a spike in the spring and summer.
Well-stocked sheds can prove too tempting for opportunist thieves.
Now, 5,000 shed and garden security leaflets are to be given out to help as part of a city-wide crime prevention message.
Chief Inspector Dave Willett, from Sunderland Area Command, said: “With spring upon us and summer approaching, I’d ask people to seriously think about shed security.
“All too often we take reports of expensive items being stolen from sheds which may not have had adequate security.
“If people intend to store these items in sheds, they should always make sure they have a good quality lock fitted. Close-shackle locks are designed to prevent them being cut with a saw.
“It’s also a good idea to keep records of your property inside the shed, marking your post code on them with a UV pen and registering them with Immobilise.
“People should also consider boosting security to the rest of their garden such as locks on gates and external lighting.”
He added: “Anyone working in their garden should also remember to still lock doors and windows and never leave garages or sheds unlocked.
“It’s worth remembering that tools can be used to break into other property.”
Councillor Harry Trueman, chairman of the Safer Sunderland Partnership, which paid for the leaflets, added: “Getting these simple crime prevention messages across is vitally important not only to reduce crime, but also to increase re-assurance that we are aware of the problems.
“A little information can go a very long way and we hope that people will take heed of the advice from their neighbourhood police teams, which is reinforced in the leaflets.”

(Reproduced from Sunderland Echo, 17th June)

Gardien Comment:  See the article on Shed Security at

Property news: Protect your home this summer

With summer finally here, many people are likely to spend more time socialising in the garden or away from home on a seasonal break.

While latest figures from The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) show substantial falls in property crime, Harrison Murray estate agents have some tips for keeping your property safe and secure during the summer month.
Head of estate agency Nick Salmon said: “Many of us seem to let our guard down slightly in the summer – with the warm evenings and sunny weekends meaning we spend more time outdoors. It just takes an opportunist thief to spot an open window and ruin your summer.”
Your property:
Check your doors, windows and patio doors are fully closed and locked before you go to bed.
If you are in the garden, make sure the windows at the front of the house are closed – it’s easy for someone to enter your house unobserved via an insecure window or door.
If you are planning to go away, ensure all moveable valuables like handbags, laptops and mobile phones are hidden from view upstairs.
Use automatic timer-switches to turn on a light and perhaps a radio when it gets dark.
Don’t leave your curtains drawn for the duration of your holiday – it’s fine in the evening but during the day it is a give away that the house is empty.
A pile of post hanging out of your letter box is a clear sign that you are away. Ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your post, or use Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ service; they will keep your mail for up to two months.
Never leave keys anywhere near the front door, in line of sight from your letter box; burglars know where to look.
If you have a burglar alarm make sure it is serviced and you have mutual arrangement with a neighbour to hold keys and check the property. False calls are annoying and the genuine one may just get ignored.
If you are selling your home, ensure you leave a key with your agent.
Your garden:
Make sure the garden looks cared for and that passers-by can see the front of your home so that a burglar can’t work without being spotted. Some people think large overgrown hedges help hide their property, but they can be a blessing to those wanting to break in.
Remove and secure items that may be used to break in or climb up such as ladders and garden tools – and don’t leave any equipment, like lawnmowers, unattended in your front garden.
Secure gates and sheds, and fit security lighting on a movement detector.
Fix garden statues securely in place.
If you are putting in a new shed, try and place it in view of your house.
Your garage:
Never leave your garage door open for others to view the contents – even for just a short time. They may make a mental note of what is in there and return later.
Fit an alarm or heavy-duty lock to the garage.
Make a note of model and series numbers of any bikes or tools stored in garages or sheds.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) shows substantial falls in property crime, with levels having fallen by half since they peaked in the mid-1990s.
These were driven by large reductions in high volume crimes such as vandalism, vehicle-related theft and burglary -

(Reproduced from the Fenland Citizen, 15th June)

Gardien Comment: The above is all sound advice - much more can be found at together with security product solutions.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Partnership working to stop metal thefts in the district


The Harrogate District Community Safety Partnership includes North Yorkshire Police and is responsible for reducing crime, disorder and anti social behaviour by working in partnership with a number of agencies.
Yesterday (12 May 2013) Sarah Glew and Mel Greaves from Harrogate Borough Council, part of the safety partnership, were out on the streets of Bilton, helping to tackle problems with metal thefts.
The area has seen many cases of number of  metal thefts from gardens and building work skips. There is also a growing trend for the thieves to target smaller items.
Mel Greaves of the Community Safety Partnership said:
Harrogate has a very low crime rate, but there are always areas that can be improved.
Householders need to make sure that their gardens are secure and if you have scrap metal, to dispose of then dispose of it yourself before somebody just takes it.
We are looking for possible metal-theft targets and then talking to the householders before handing out advice leaflets to surrounding households.
Sarah and Mel used a highly visible council truck and spoke to a number of people about potential vulnerabilities.
Bilton sees many vehicles cruising the streets and there have been a number of incidences of items being stolen from properties. When fridges are placed in gardens for disposal and then stolen, they are often found fly-tipped with the pump removed – the only valuable component.
Many thefts go unreported though. For some, it can be an item that is conveniently cleared from their garden, however, for others it can mean the loss of children’s play equipment, garden furniture or gate.
Suspicious vehicles or thefts can be reported using the police’s non-emergency number of 101. It is important that reports are made to give the police the information do deal with problems appropriately
(Reproduced from, 14th June)
Gardien Comment:: Metal theft is still rife - be particularly aware of children's play equipment which can easily be removed from gardens.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Crime prevention lessons for East Dorset

NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch groups in East Dorset are running a series of events to keep residents safe in June.

Groups around the county will be hosting events from June 15 to 23 as part of the National Neighbourhood Watch week.
As well as the usual Neighbourhood and Home Watch schemes, East Dorset also boasts a number of other initiatives, including Farm Watch, Horse Watch, Business Watch, Shop and Pub Watch and Heath Watch. Each is designed to encourage community involvement to reduce crime and to support those who have been the victims of crime. Events during National Neighbourhood Watch week in East Dorset are: * Sat 15 & Sun 16 June, 10am until 2pm – cycle safety at Moors Valley Country Park.
* Mon, June 17, 10am until 1pm – launch event at Haskins Garden Centre, Longham. Visit Sheducation and see crime prevention displays.
* Tues, June 18, 10am until 1pm – Sheducation trailer at Stewarts Garden Centre, Holt.
* Wed, June 19, 10am until noon – Sheducation trailer at the Barrington Centre, Ferndown.
* Thurs, June 18, 7am until 9am – visit Travis Perkins on the Ferndown Industrial Estate for advice on keeping tools safe.
* Friday, June 21, 11am until 3pm – crime prevention event in The Square, Wimborne.
* Sunday, June 23 – Sheducation at West MoorsFamily Fun Day, Fryers Field, West Moors.
(Reproduced from The Bournemouth Echo, 11th June)
Gardien Comment: See also the articles on Shed Security at and Bike Security at

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Attempted garden furniture theft in Seaford sparks police warning

Sergeant Stuart Mullins from Seaford Neighbourhood Policing Team is asking local residents to be vigilant following the incident on Saturday May 25.
A neighbour saw the man trying to take a table from a garden in Marine Crescent at around 8am.
The would be thief was described as white, of medium build with short fair hair and was wearing blue jeans and a pale yellow hoodie with the words “Jack” on it.
Sergeant Mullins said: “This may be a one off but I’d like to try and avoid other residents from becoming potential victims of similar crimes now that the summer is finally threatening to arrive and more people have garden furniture out.
“Please be wary of anyone acting suspiciously in your or your neighbour’s gardens and call the police immediately if you do see anything.”
(Reproduced from the Sussex Express, 4th June)
Gardien Comment: It is important to make access to your garden as difficult as possible. See the advice and products at

Monday, June 3, 2013

Canaries taken from aviary in Willesborough (Kent)

Officers are appealing for information after about 60 birds were stolen from a garden in Ashford.
Kent Police is investigating the alleged theft of about 25 adult and 35 five-week-old canaries from an aviary in Canterbury Road, Willesborough, between 10am on Monday, May 27, and 11am on Tuesday, May 28.
The canaries are described as yellow, green and grey and some of the adult birds had red rings on their feet with ‘C and S 12’ written on the rings.
Witnesses or anyone with information about this incident should contact PC Suzy Pickett at Kent Police by calling 101 and quoting ZY/14788/13.
(Reproduced from 3rd June0
Gardien Comment: All pet enclosures should have a suitable alarm system to warn against intruders. The Wireless Garden Alarm ( is very suitable for this purpose as its range means it can cover aviaries, kennels etc which are not actually next to the dwelling.