Theft (from Gardens)
High-level garden theft hit the headlines when firms such as Sotheby's in Billingshurst began to develop a specialist market in antique garden statuary, seats and urns. Victorian cast-iron twig and vine benches which had mouldered for years under dripping summer trees suddenly acquired astonishing value. I first wrote about this new phenomenon in the Nineties. Sadly, although it's no longer new, it's still with us. As always, the thieves manage to stay a step ahead of the increasingly sophisticated alarms and marking systems that owners are forced to employ to hang on to their cherubs and quietly mossed-over lions.
As I reported before, the National Trust, in whose gardens is a remarkable collection of antique urns, statues and furniture, has been the victim of some particularly damaging thefts. At Wallington in Northumberland, thieves were disturbed as they were trying to remove the fine lead statues which decorate the walled garden. The tenant of the portico house in the garden fortunately discovered the perpetrators when he returned home late at night.
Police put thefts from gardens in the same category as burglaries from houses, so you can't put an exact figure on how much is stolen from gardens. Latest Home Office figures suggest that five thousand gardens are targeted by thieves every week. Most commonly stolen are garden plants (nearly a quarter of those who suffer from garden theft lose trees and shrubs, sometimes whole hedges).
Tools are popular with thieves, but many gardeners now etch or paint a postcode on expensive items. That makes them much more difficult for thieves to sell on. But the stolen lawnmowers, strimmers, generators, garden tractors and power tools I wrote about originally are still favourite targets. Keep a record of the serial numbers; if your nicked chainsaw gets found, it's the easiest way to prove you are the rightful owner. Use gravel for your garden paths. The inevitable scrunch is as good as a shed alarm.
Stealing lawnmowers and strimmers can be seen as the outdoor equivalent of lifting televisions and DVD players from inside houses. Reprehensible, but comprehensible. What is more surreal is the way that an entire pond, together with fountain and fish, can disappear > in a night, as happened to a gardener near Crewe in Cheshire. But all those who love gardening wince more painfully at news of plants being stolen than they do when told of purloined lawnmowers or strimmers. As well as being animate, plants are personal, in a way that a ride-on mower can never be.
So it's particularly shocking when entire collections of rare plants are stolen. Some time ago, it happened at the botanic garden at Ventnor, Isle of Wight, where, over 17 years, the curator, Simon Goodenough, had built up a fine collection of pseudopanax, strange spiky plants originating in New Zealand.
There's a worrying increase, too, in the theft of dogs from gardens – running now at 135,000 a year. Top of the list are springer spaniels, border terriers, and boxers. Dog thieves have evidently got good taste. But it's a mystery how a dog thief can ever persuade a springer to go off in the right direction when their owners so rarely can.
Insurance companies, always quick to spot an opening, are now offering specialised garden insurance to home owners. Policies vary in their comprehensiveness. Some cover plants in conservatories and greenhouses, but not those growing outside. Some cover hedges but not individual shrubs and trees. Check your policy. Full cover for plants may be available. But for an additional premium of course. Some companies offer substantially reduced insurance premiums if a house and garden are not left unoccupied for long periods. Some home contents policies will only cover garden machinery if it is kept under lock and key.
(Reproduced from The Independent, 7th December - article by Anna Pavord)
Gardien Comment: An excellent article on the subject of garden theft. We set up Gardien to provide solutions to these very problems, see www.garden-security.co.uk
Historic statues stolen from Godinton House garden
Two historic lead statues worth £30,000 have been stolen from the garden at Godinton House in Kent, triggering fears they will be melted down and sold as scrap.
The two statues, which depict a nude dancing man and a female muse, were taken by thieves on Monday night. A tenant on the ancient estate, near Ashford, discovered the theft the next morning.
The oldest statues in the garden, the pair have stood in the grounds since the late 19th century and are valued at around £30,000.
The trail left by the intruders suggests that the figurines were taken away in a trolley, which was wheeled across the grounds and lifted over fences – one of which is now slightly broken.
Nick Sandford, the estate manager at Godinton, said, “This charming pair of lead figures date back to the 18th century and have been at Godinton for at least 100 years. They form the focal point at the end of the Tennis Lawn.
(Reproduced from telegraph.co.uk 22nd Nov)
Gardien Comment: No matter the distance from buildings, items of value need some protection. If possible, electricity should be run to the vicinity and a CCTV system installed - if not a Solar security light should be installed in the area as this alone may be sufficient to scare off thieves.
Statues stolen from Blandford garden
The deer statues that were stolen.
BLANDFORD Police are appealing for information after four large bronze statues were stolen from the rear garden of a house in the Thornicombe area of the town.
Officers said this morning that the incident happened sometime between 5pm on Tuesday, October 29, 8am the next day.
Those responsible gained entry to the garden and made off with two deer statues – five and four feet in height – along with two one-foot bronze fawns.
Andy Woodford, of the Dorset Police Crime Management Unit, said: “Following extensive enquiries, I am now able to release an image of the bronze statues.
“Their owner has been left extremely upset by this incident and they are very keen to have them returned. “I am appealing to anyone who may have seen this theft take place, or saw any suspicious activity in the area around the time of the incident to contact Dorset Police in confidence.
“It is possible someone may have seen the offenders loading these items onto a vehicle and these details could help us identify those responsible.”
No arrests have been made.
Call Dorset Police in confidence on 101, quoting crime number C:13:C:45526. Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.
(Reproduced from Bournemouth Daily Echo, 11th Nov)
Gardien Comment: Yet more heavy items being taken. See the advice re Garden Statues at http://www.garden-security.co.uk/garden-antiques-security.aspx
Garden ornaments stolen by thieves during night raids
Thieves raided gardens and stole ornaments worth a substantial amount of money.
Police are appealing for information after several thefts in the Kirkby Lonsdale and Carnforth area.
The first theft was on Saturday night, October 26, when two distinctive antique intricate stone-carved acorn gateposts were stolen from the entrance to a property in the Fairbank area of Kirkby Lonsdale.
On the same night in the Fairbank area, two large vintage garden urns and an antique sundial were stolen from a front garden.
Two further thefts were reported on October 28.
One was near Fairbank, where a four foot concrete lion water feature was stolen from a front garden.
In Lupton, Carnforth, two antique grey sandstone balls were also reported stolen from the end of a driveway.
DC David Moffat said: “Some of these items are worth a substantial amount of money, and we are asking the local community to help us track them down.
“Many of the items are large objects which would have been difficult to move.
“I would urge people in the Kirkby Lonsdale area to ensure all valuable property is secure, and if you notice anything missing please report it to the police.
“If anyone has seen anything suspicious in the area recently, or has any information, please call Cumbria Police on 101or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
(Reproduced from the Visitor, Nov 10th - Lancaster and Morecambe)
Gardien Comment: Nothing is too heavy to move for those determined to take it - see the advice re Garden Antiques at http://www.garden-security.co.uk/garden-antiques-security.aspx
Police pride at anti-theft campaign
Nantwich Neighbourhood Policing Unit (NPU) launched ‘Operation Gordonia’ in August after seeing an almost 40% rise in thefts of items including garden tools and lawn mowers during the two months previous.
Three months on and police say the number of thefts has reduced to ‘more realistic and expected levels’ after stepping up patrols and using both marked and unmarked vehicles.
As a result of police patrolling country lanes as part of Gordonia, 10 people were arrested on suspicion of drink driving.
Nantwich Inspector Dave Smithers said that there were 23 reported incidents of thefts from sheds or outbuildings, 16 in September and seven offences in October (as of October 29).
Items stolen during this period ranged from gardening tools, lawn mowers and metal to motorbikes and quad bikes.
“The number of incidents has reduced and we are trying to make sure it stays this way,” added Insp Smithers.
“We have maintained increased patrols in rural areas and we are giving it extra attention, looking out for any suspicious activity.”
Although there have been no arrests, police believe they are sending out a clear message to criminals – ‘not in our town’.
Residents are also being reminded to ensure their own crime prevention measures are in place and that their properties are not an ‘open invitation’ to criminals.
“As an off-shoot to this operation we have arrested about 10 people for drink driving,” said Insp Smithers.
Officers look out for drivers who are acting suspiciously – behaviour can include driving erratically and being parked up in a lay-by at night.
“Perhaps in rural areas people think they will get away with it but because we have additional patrols in that area they have been stopped. This is all making our roads safer, even though that’s not the specific aim of this operation,” he added.
(Reproduced from Crewe Chronicle, 31st Oct)
Gardien Comment: See the article on Shed Security at http://www.garden-security.co.uk/shed-security-print.htm
Police investigating theft of garden urns from a property in Kirkby Lonsdale
POLICE are urgently investigating the theft of two vintage Grecian garden urns from a property in Kirkby Lonsdale.
The urns were taken from the front garden of a house at Fairbank, thought to be overnight on October 26 or into the morning of October 27.
They are described as concrete, very heavy and would have needed two people to have lifted them.
Police have confirmed that the urns were worth £500 in total.
If anybody has seen anyone acting suspicious in the area, please contact Cumbria Police on 101.
(Reproduced from The Westmorland Gazette, 28th Oct 2013)
Gardien Comment: http://www.garden-security.co.uk/garden-antiques-security.aspx
for advice and products to help protect garden antiques
Racing bikes stolen from garden shed
THREE bikes worth more than £1000 have been stolen from a garden shed.
The two racing bikes and a mountain bike were taken from a shed that was broken into in Denholm Drive, Musselburgh, sometime between Thursday night and the morning of Friday, October 17.
They include a black Chris Boardman racing bike worth £700, a white Carera racing bike worth £300 and a silver Raleigh mountain bike worth £150.
Anyone who has any information regarding the theft of these bikes should contact Police Scotland on 101, or make an anonymous report through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
(Reproduced from Edinburgh News 21st Oct)
Gardien Comment: See the article on Bike Security at http://www.garden-security.co.uk/bike-security-print.htm
Show budgies worth £60,000 stolen from garden aviary
THIEVES have stolen £60,000 worth of budgies in a raid at Nursling.
They broke into an aviary and took more than 350 show birds bred by national expert Michael Freeborn.
He believes the creatures – some as young as six months – will be smuggled abroad and sold.
Devastated Mr Freeborn, 74, discovered his prize collection of budgerigars had been taken yesterday morning when he went to check on them in their large cage less than 30ft from his bungalow.
He said it would have taken a gang of three or four thieves with a large net and a van to carry out the theft.
“The stud value of these birds is around £60,000 and they are irreplaceable," he said.
Even if I do get them back, which is very unlikely, they will probably be too traumatised to do anything with.
“When I went down to the aviary at 4.45am the outside security light didn’t come on and when I went to put the key in the lock, I realised the lock wasn’t there and the door had been jemmied open and all the birds were gone. I was devastated.”
Mr Freeborn, who is the founder of Freeborn Garages, began keeping budgerigars as pets when he was 14 years old and has won scores of trophies with his show birds over the years.
In 1963 he started breeding them himself and all the stolen birds were descendants of a pair that he bred from 50 years ago.
He was not sure exactly how many budgies were in the cage near his garden aviary but knows there were between 350 and 400.
Mr Freeborn, who is a member of the South Hampshire Budgerigar Club and a national judge with the Budgerigar Society, said he believed the gang escaped across nearby fields with the birds after removing them from the 26ft by 12ft aviary.
“It would have taken three or four people at least three hours to remove and take them to a van. It is possible they were stolen to order.
“But whoever stole them would have to cut all the distinctive rings off the birds and then nobody would buy them.
“I think the gang’s aim is to get them abroad and sell them.
"The police are cracking down on this but there are some unscrupulous people out there who don’t care if they destroy people’s lives and hobbies.
There is a ban on all feathered livestock going abroad and people need a licence to export them from Britain.”
Hampshire police are investigating.
Asked whether it was possible the gang would take the birds overseas, a police spokesman said: “We couldn’t discount it but it’s not all that likely as they may lose a lot of the stock so it wouldn’t be that worthwhile to them.”
Anyone with information about the theft should contact Romsey police on 101.
(Reproduced from the Romsey Advertiser, 16th October)
Gardien Comment: Sadly we hear of too many thefts of animals and other livestock. If they are of significant value, due precautions need to be taken to protect them. For advice and products, visit www.garden-security.co.uk
Theft of horse statue from West Bilney garden (Norfolk)
Thieves broke into the back garden and an outbuilding at a property in West Bilney and stole a four foot bronze statue of a horse.
The incident happened at a house in Main Road early last week.
It was stolen some time between 8pm on Sunday, September 22, and 6.30pm on Tuesday, September 24.
The thieves entered the back garden of the property where they stole the statue before entering the outbuilding and stealing garden tools.
Police would like to speak to anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious in the area between the times stated.
Contact PC Scott Lammas at Hunstanton Police Station on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
(Reproduced from Lynn News, 1st Oct)
Gardien Comment: Once again a very heavy object has been removed and you should never under-estimate what can be stolen. For advice go to http://www.garden-security.co.uk/garden-antiques-security.aspx
A five-foot ship’s anchor weighing three quarters of a tonne has been stolen from a front garden in Tealby.
Police in Market Rasen are appealing for information about the theft of the metal anchor, which happened between September 11 and 12.
They would like to hear from anyone who sees a newly installed anchor or knows of one for sale.
(Reproduced from Market Rasen Mail, 19th Sept)
Gardien Comment: Never assume that anything is too heavy to be targeted by criminals. Take sensible precautions to safeguard all items of monetary or sentimental value. Advice and quality security products can be viewed at www.garden-security.co.uk
Green-fingered thief, 49, stole flowers to replant in his garden
He also stole plants from East Riding and Hull City Council floral displays, to replant them in his own garden. PC Andy White, of the Kirk Ella, Willerby and Anlaby Neighbourhood Policing Teams, said he had never heard of anything like it.
"When he was arrested he was asked if there were any plants that shouldn't be in his garden and he pulled out a box of plants," he said. "He must have dug up about half a dozen.
"He had a nice garden, but dozens of the plants had been stolen. We've investigated the theft of garden furniture and the odd garden ornament going missing, but this is the first time I've heard of plants taken like this."
Among the victims was a woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, who lived off Lowfield Road in Anlaby.
So incensed by the mysterious disappearance of plants from her garden on several occasions, she installed CCTV and caught Mail in the act.
She also put mousetraps around the garden to deter the thief.
PC White said: "He said the ones from the domestic address had died.
"He was stealing two or three plants at a time, usually from big displays in the hope a few missing plants wouldn't be missed and would go unnoticed.
"When we arrested him he was full of regret and admitted it was a stupid thing to do."
Mail pleaded guilty to six offences of the theft of flowers and one of attempted theft of flowers.
PC White said: "In one incident he was caught by the homeowner leaving in his car.
"Knowing he was spotted in the car, he brought the flowers back and left the plastic bag of flowers on the floor before apologising and driving off.
"We don't know why he targeted the house in Lowfield. Maybe it was the fact it was a nice display that could be seen from the road."
Ahead of the court case at Beverley Magistrates' Court earlier this week, Mail was warned not to be found in possession of plants or flowers.
At the case, on Wednesday, Mail also pleaded guilty to dishonestly receiving stolen goods – a Black and Decker strimmer, a Marine motors British seagull outboard motor and green metal diesel can and a Black and Decker strimmer and a Flymo lawn mower.
PC White said: "The CCTV images provided us with some good images and from putting them in the Mail, we had a lot of calls naming him."
Mail has not yet been sentenced
(reproduced from thisishullandeastriding.co.uk , Sept 13th)
Preventing Scrap Metal Theft
metal-theft-63917/#sthash.DliphwOt.dpuf Local police in the area have set the theft of metal as one of their priorities. Whilst there are a number of genuine scrap collectors in Consett who provide a much needed service removing unwanted items from our homes and gardens, there are a number of people operating in the area in a less than acceptable manner. It is against the law for a scrap collector to take an item out of your garden or yard without getting permission first. This scrap metal theft has been on the increase in recent years as the price of scrap metal has been steadily on the rise.
The Police need your help to try and crack down on the illegal scrap metal collectors in the Consett area. If you see anyone acting suspiciously then you should inform the Police who can investigate the situation further if needs be. If you have any items in your garden which you value, you should take steps to ensure they are safe.
- Ensure gates are locked so that access is difficult to an opportunist who may see items they are interested in.
- Secure items including bikes with chains and locks.
- Make a note of the serial numbers of items and store them in a safe place indoors.
- Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to police at the time.
By following these steps, it is possible to ensure that you are storing your items outdoors in the safest manner possible. By taking a note of the serial number of the items it makes it much easier for the Police to find your property if it has been stolen.
If you have a garage or a shed it is also important to make sure these are properly secured. If someone has decided to have a look in your garden for scrap, they may well try to take a look in your shed and garage also.
REMEMBER, IF YOU SEE IT, REPORT IT. THE LOCAL POLICE WOULD LIKE TO KNOW
(Reproduced from Consett Magazine 3rd Sept)
Gardien Comment: Metal theft continues to be a major problem. Lock away all portable metal items in a secure shed and use property marking on all large items
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 www.northumbria.police.uk
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)
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)
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)
Gardien Comment: All good advice - much more can be found at www.garden-security.co.uk along with product solutions.
Criminals targeting countryside cost the region £3.4m last year
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)
Garden award for top tips on security
Garden award for top tips on security
A CRIME-CUTTING show garden has clinched an award for its role in helping to keep residents safe from crooks.
The secure garden was set up at Parker’s Garden Centre in Kirby Cross last year.
It is a model garden displaying the top steps residents can take to secure their homes against burglars.
The secure garden initiative, which was put together by the crime prevention team at Clacton police station, has now been handed a top internal award by Essex Police for its innovative approach in tackling burglaries in the area.
They have scooped the Ray Stannard Memorial Trophy, handed out for displays of excellence in crime prevention within the force.
(Reproduced from Clacton Gazette, 30th July)
Gardien Comment: What a great idea, which other police forces might do well to copy. Garden crime continues to increase so why make it easy? Simple steps can be very effective - see the advice at www.garden-security.co.uk
Protection for your plot - Five minute guide to taking out insurance for garden features
Lock up your lawnmowers - increase in garden thefts
Gardeners are being told to lock up their lawnmowers and guard against thieves taking advantage of the sizzling summer weather.
Devon and Cornwall Police figures show that there were 837 thefts in Cornwall last year from gardens, sheds, outbuildings and outside homes.
Bob Bunney, force crime reduction advisor for Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “The long summer evenings mean the goods in your garden are more visible to thieves, so try to avoid advertising what you’ve got.
“Clear your garden every evening, make sure all sheds and garages are properly locked and secure, and either move patio furniture and expensive barbecues into a shed or use chains and padlocks.”
Home Office figure show thefts from British gardens are on the increase, with around 5,000 gardens targeted every week.
Rural insurer Cornish Mutual wanted to make the public aware of the numbers of crimes that have taken place in the hope that they will increase security.
Alan Goddard, chief executive of Cornish Mutual, said: "People often store expensive tools and equipment which together can be worth several thousand pounds in a shed or garage which isn’t properly locked, and criminals know that.
“Thieves are often opportunist and will target gardens with less secure storage, so a good quality padlock can deter them, and save you from becoming a victim of theft."
The public are advised to lock all garden tools away at night and make sure all garden furniture is tagged so it can be traced
(Reproduced from thisiscornwall.co.uk, 25th July)
Crime team warn people to watch out for burglars during heatwave
HOUSEHOLDERS are being warned to watch out for burglars during the current heatwave.
Cleveland Police Crime Prevention Team says thieves are on the prowl looking to steal from sheds and garages.
They are also warning residents to keep front doors locked if you are in the back garden and to close doors and windows when going out.
Steve Cranston, crime prevention officer, said: “Although our homes can become stiflingly hot in this heat, please remember to close your windows before you go out, as the thieves will take advantage and will soon be in your home.
“Thieves will also be prowling, trying the door to your shed or garage so make sure that you keep it locked and secured with a good lock.
“They will be looking to steal lawnmowers, tools, bikes or crates of lager from your sheds, so make sure you always remember to lock up.”
For advice on crime prevention and property marking call the Crime Prevention Team on 101
(Reproduced from The Hartlepool Mail, 19th July)
Couple 'stole garden ornaments to brighten up their back yard'
Police have arrested a 26-year-old man and 17-year-old woman in connection with a series of thefts from gardens in Pittville. Officers swooped on a home in St Paul's after being tipped off that around 25 stolen items were in the garden.
They found a haul of garden goods which they believe to have been stolen, including gnomes, hanging baskets, garden furniture, Acer trees, animal garden lights, a stone lion ornament, three stone dogs, a stone mushroom and flowerpots. It is believed the items were taken from gardens between June 28 and Wednesday.
Gloucestershire police officers are now working to reunite the owners with their items.
Inspector Jon Roberts said four people had already come forward to reclaim property.
He added: "I'm really pleased we have been able to recover these items. We're now hoping people who have had items stolen will come forward."
The couple was arrested at around 11.15am on Thursday on suspicion of theft in connection with the stolen items.
They have since been bailed, pending further inquiries, and have been ordered to return to Cheltenham police station on July 26th
(Reproduced from thisisgloucestershire.co.uk 17th July)
Hertfordshire Constabulary warn of St Albans garden tool break-ins
A series of break-ins during which offenders have used gardening tools to gain entry to homes have taken place in St Albans. Hertfordshire Constabulary have issued a warning to residents following three burglaries in the district.
A safe containing cash was stolen from a house after burglars used a shovel and screwdriver to open a conservatory door in West Way, Harpenden, between June 15 and 16.
On the same day a garden hoe was used to force open a door in Stewart Road, Harpenden.
During the break in a jewellery box was stolen from the house.
A garden spade was used to damage a window pane in Riverside Road, St Albans, on June 18.
Police are urging people to lock away their gardening tools and ladders to avoid them being used by opportunist burglars.
Sergeant Sophia Pidgeon, from the Operation Scorpion team, said: "We expect with the weather getting hotter, residents will be more relaxed about garden security and opportunist burglars will use insecure garden tools to break into homes so they are not caught ‘going equipped’."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Hertfordshire Constabulary on the non-emergency number 101.
(Reproduced from St Albans Review, 4th July 2013)
Gardien Comment: For a wooden shed, replace any cheap lock with a Neulock or see the article on Shed Security at http://www.garden-security.co.uk/shed-security-print.htm
Cracking down on garden thefts
Devon and Cornwall Police are urging homeowners to tighten their garden security as they prepare to crack down on garden thefts this summer.
As people spend more time outside, the value of outdoor items continue to rise, with bikes, lawnmowers and garden furniture hot on thieves’ radars.
However, these thefts could be avoided if simple security measures were taken.
Bob Bunney of Devon and Cornwall Police Crime Reduction Lead said: “A good place to begin when securing your shed is to make all access points difficult to reach or use. Make sure you fit strong shackle padlocks to the shed door and mesh to the windows. Installing security lighting around your house will also help deter opportunist thieves.”
More security advice is available at www.devon-cornwall.police.co.uk.
(Reproduced from Midweek Herald, Exeter, 3rd July)
Belford (Berwick) hit by spate of crime
It is believed they most probably happened overnight on Sunday night into Monday morning.
One happened at a shed in the grounds of the health centre at Croftfield but nothing was stolen from inside. At a building site canteen at Raynham Close a window was smashed and search made inside but nothing was stolen.
At Dinningside an attempt was made to force entry to a shed which belonged to a pigeon club, again nothing was stolen. And at Meadow Park thieves went into an insecure garden shed and stole a garden strimmer.
Belford Golf Club at South Road was also broken into, with items from the trophy cabinet and alcohol stolen. It’s believed the five offences may be connected.
Police are stepping up patrols in the village and the Neighbourhood Policing Team will be speaking with local residents to reassure them and pass on crime prevention advice.
They will also ensure residents get their hands on free shed locks funded by the Local Multi Agency Partnership.
Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Garrick said: “We had a spate of offences reported on Monday which we believe have happened over the weekend, at this stage we think they may be connected.
“We’re carrying out enquiries to trace the person or people responsible and would urge anyone with information to contact us. Local officers will be in the village reassuring people, giving out free locks and ensuring they have crime prevention advice.
“Residents should make sure sheds are locked with a sturdy lock at all times and that anything of value inside is also attached to an immovable or heavy object, residents should also consider installing an alarm, which deters thieves.
“Security lighting and CCTV in garden areas also puts off opportunist criminals. Residents should be vigilant and report any suspicious or unusual vehicles or people to police straight away.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191, or Crimestoppers
(Reproduced from Berwick Advertiser, July 2nd)
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.”
(Reproduced from The Northern Echo, 19th June)