Nipping Garden Crime In The Bud
October 22, 2014
THE increasing popularity of garden makeovers and the concept of the ‘outdoor room’ means that Britons are now spending £5 billion a year on plants, pots, furniture, garden tools and other garden items, yet many do little to protect their investment.
Research has found that people leave approximately £850 worth of items in their garden sheds including lawnmowers and bikes; and that garden theft costs home-owners nearly £300 if someone breaks in.
Even though they offer rich pickings for thieves, gardens are often inadequately protected by home-owners.
As the dark nights draw in, it is worth considering the following tips to stop garden thieves in their tracks…
Top tips to deter garden theft
• Always securely lock away all tools and equipment in a garden shed or garage.
• Install security lighting which comes on automatically when someone approaches the garden perimeter.
• Consider using gravel in the access way to the garden, as this acts as an audible warning of possible intruders.
• Enclose the garden as much as possible with fencing and lockable gates, as this will make it more difficult for thieves to remove larger items such as furniture.
• Plant a ‘living’ barrier to restrict access – thorny shrubs such as pyracantha, blackthorn and holly are effective deterrents.
• Take photos of larger, more expensive items such as statues, water features and garden furniture, in case of a claim.
• If you have a bike in your shed or garage, you can register it for free on BikeRegister, the UK’s national cycle database. If it is stolen and recovered by police it can be traced back to you.
• Make sure adequate insurance cover is in place – which also includes cover for more expensive garden items.
• Consider using a forensic property marking product to protect garden items including lawnmowers, strimmers and chainsaws. If they are stolen and recovered by police, the items can be linked back to you.
Metal theft from the home
Outdoor metals such as lead roofing, window flashing, copper piping and iron gates are also at risk from thieves, who can sell these items on as scrap metal.
Metal theft can cause misery to homeowners, who often don’t even know their roof has been stolen until it starts to leak on a rainy day. These tips for deterring metal thieves may come in handy…
Keeping metal thieves at bay
• Identify exactly where any valuable metal is on your premises and make sure it is adequately protected. Consider installing a CCTV camera with an infra-red facility.
• Don’t leave wheelie bins or ladders lying around – as they will make it easier for a thief to gain access to the roof.
• Join your local Neighbourhood Watch group and help support your neighbours by keeping a watchful eye on their homes too. Report any suspicious behaviour to police.
• Use floodlighting to light any risk areas. Make sure the lighting works as evenings draw in.
• Remove or trim back bushes if they have become overgrown. They make excellent hiding places for thieves.
• Consider using a forensic marking product on any exposed metal and erect deterrent warning signs to indicate that everything is DNA-marked. The use of warning signs has been proven to reduce and deter theft.