Friday, August 9, 2013

Police hunt garden gnome raiders


POLICE are hunting thieves who stole a 3ft-high gnome from a South Tyneside garden.
The theft happened between 12.30am and 8.30am on Wednesday, August 7, in Falstone Avenue, South Shields.
Officers are appealing for information about the theft and asking anyone with any information to contact them.
Residents are also reminded to make sure their gardens are secure.
Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Hudson, said: “We want to remind people that most of these thieves are opportunist and for whatever reason are stealing garden furniture and ornaments.
“We know people want to decorate their garden with ornaments and plant pots as well as leave garden furniture out, especially during the summer months, however we would advise them to make sure their gardens are secure and not easily accessible.”
The advice forms part of operation Soundwave which is aimed at silencing opportunist criminals during the summer months.
Further crime prevention advice is available on the Northumbria Police website
Police are also asking people to be on their guard against door-to-door sellers and report any suspicious activity.
(Reproduced from Shields Gazette, 8th August)
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Increase in UK garden furniture theft, warns Altons Garden Centre


The great British summertime has resulted in many taking advantage of the weather; including hosting BBQs, planting exotic flowers as well as stealing expensive garden furniture.
Due to the extended hours of sunshine and tropical temperatures, more people are spending their time outdoors - whether its topping up their tan or tending to the garden. But unfortunately, by bringing out their best garden wares, has resulted in thieves trying their luck and stealing items such as garden benches and lawnmowers.
One region in particular has fallen victim to such a crime. Devon and Cornwall Police statistics reported 837 thefts in Cornwall back in 2012 with garden furnishings reported missing from sheds, outbuildings and outside homes.
(Reproduced from consumerelectronicsnet, 7th August)
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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Secure Your Garden

While most of us ensure our house alarm is switched on, windows/doors locked and a light left on when we go on holiday, how secure is our garden?

As many people prepare to take their summer break, Harrison Murray estate agents, in light of a recent survey, are warning homeowners against green-fingered thieves.
Findings of research by a well-known comparison website reveal that one in five homeowners had been victim to garden thefts or vandalism while they were away on holiday.
It says the average value of property either stolen or damaged was estimated to be worth just over £300, while 16 per cent of homeowners affected suffered losses to the tune of £500 or more.
Harrison Murray head of estate agency Nick Salmon said: “While the majority of homeowners think of their garden as an extension of their living space – with nice ornaments and stylish furniture – some don’t always think about the value and security of their outdoor possessions in the same way as they do their house.
“Homeowners can take a few simple steps to protect their garden against green-fingered thieves, particularly during the summer.”
If you are going away, even for the weekend – lock any back or side gates or other entrances to the garden.
Pack away out of sight any garden tools or equipment.
Secure expensive plants with wire pegs dug into the ground around the root ball.
Use a security pen to mark valuable items, like garden furniture, ornaments or trampolines, with your postcode.
Install security lighting.
Mend any broken fences or boundary gaps to deter opportunist thieves. Consider defensive planting like prickly hedges or shrubs.
According to the research the top five items stolen or damaged from gardens were:
Bicycles (20 per cent)
Garden sculptures or ornaments (16 per cent)
Trees or shrubs (15 per cent)
Garden furniture (12 per cent)
Lawn mowers (8 per cent)

(Reproduced from Fenland Citizen, 7th August)

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Criminals targeting countryside cost the region £3.4m last year


THEFT of farm vehicles, machinery, livestock and quad bikes from rural parts of Yorkshire cost the region £3.4m last year, new figures have shown.
The annual “agri-crime” survey by insurer NFU Mutual shows the cost of rural crime across the country dropped from £52.7m in 2011 to £42.3m last year.
Quad bikes are the most likely item to be stolen in the region while tools and agricultural machinery have also proved popular targets for criminals, according to the new figures.
The statistics, based on claims data made to the firm, suggest the majority of rural crime is planned rather than opportunist, with many high-value items stolen to order by gangs of organised thieves.
Stephen Dew, an NFU Mutual agent in Skipton, said:
“Even though rural crime has fallen, much more still needs to be done to thwart rural criminals and minimise the devastating impact of crime in the countryside.
“We’re starting to see the benefits from communities working hard with the police and wider industry. However, people shouldn’t become complacent; they need to make security a priority on their farms, businesses and homes.”
Despite quad bikes seemingly being a prime target for thieves in Yorkshire, the drop in rural crime nationally was partly attributed to a 17 per cent drop in claim costs for the items, as well as a fall in tractor thefts.
Thefts of garden furniture, ornaments and stone are thought to be on the rise over the last 12 months and NFU Mutual says some thefts could be repeated as the criminals return within weeks to plunder the replacements.
Security measures like CCTV and tracker devices, as well as traditional devices such as locks, are thought to be a more effective deterrent than a greater police presence.
Mark Wilson, a father-of-two who runs the award-winning Playdale Farm Park, in Cayton, near Scarborough, with his wife, has given up owning quad bikes after repeatedly being targeted by burglars.
The two most recent thefts were carried out from the same shed, despite a number of security measures being installed, and cost him around £10,500.
Mr Wilson, 43, said: “The first one we lost, we looked at it almost as a positive thing so we could tighten our act up a bit but when we lost the second two, that was different.
“We did all the straightforward stuff security-wise, we put locks on everything, we have removed a road. That has been a problem because of the level of inconvenience that has been caused.
“We decided in the end that we could no longer have a quad, we were just purchasing it for someone to come and steal it.
“The second time we upped the security and put bigger locks with doors we felt were theft-proof. They were very professional, police believe they froze the lock. They knew what they were doing,”
Rural crime is a particular issue in North Yorkshire, where half of all burglaries and a third of total crimes are committed by travelling criminals from outside the county.
Crime commissioner Julia Mulligan last month announced a £250,000 investment to help officers track and trace more of the vehicles driven by criminals crossing over county borders.
And the police have made a number of arrests since launching Operation Hawk last week in a bid to tackle “cross-border criminals”.
Last week officers detained a 24-year-old man from Bradford on suspicion of stealing a horsebox from a farm in Selby.
Officers were alerted after the horsebox was taken, along with a Renault Kangoo van, from the farm in Stillingfleet. Two quad bikes and a welding machine were also stolen.
The van and the horsebox were spotted on the A64 and followed onto the A1, where a man jumped out and ran off into fields.
He was found nearby and arrested on suspicion of burglary.
Acting Assistant Chief Constable Ken McIntosh, of North Yorkshire Police said: “I encourage our rural communities to buy into Operation Hawk because with their support and local knowledge they can help make this initiative a success.”
(Reproduced from the Yorkshire Post, 5th August)
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