The number one target in most gardens is the shed and it is usually far too easy to break into. There are a number of reasons for this, the obvious one being that the level of security is at best inadequate and at worst non-existent. There is also another less obvious reason and that is due to lack of maintenance. Most sheds are wooden and they need looking after, treating against the elements to keep the strength and durability in the timber, while fixtures and fittings need to be galvanised or regularly oiled, greased and replaced when suffering from corrosion or wear and tear. At Gardien we strive to provide the very best and most durable security fixtures and fittings and we are always on hand to offer the necessary advice on product choice. Our knowledge is born out of many years of experience in the field. Hopefully we can share some of those experiences and offer pragmatic and cost effective solutions to the ever present threat of Ďshed breakí.
The average value of shed contents in the UK has been estimated at more than £1,000.00 It is vitally important that the investment in security is measured against those contents and that it is realistic, risk commensurate and cost effective. For example it makes little or no sense to put a set of golf clubs or an expensive mountain bike in a shed protected by a £3 padlock bought from the local car boot sale, probably manufactured in the Far East and with a life expectancy of maybe 3 months. Good quality protection is vital, especially if the shed contains garden tools which can then be used to force entry to the house or outbuildings. The degree of protection you require obviously depends on the total value of the goods inside but it should never be poor. So letís look more closely at some of the key issues and seek to prevent you from becoming the next victim.
- DO I NEED A NEW SHED? First and foremost, decide whether you ought to replace the shed. Take a good look at it and carry out some simple tests. With a bradawl or sharp skewer check if the wood is starting to rot, do we have a regular treatment programme, what sort of shape is the roof in, is it easy to remove the glass from the outside and reach through to remove property?
- PAST ITS SELL BY DATE? If the answer is YES you really should consider replacing it with a secure metal shed because it will offer the maximum protection and greatest longevity, Beware of cheap metal sheds, however, which have not been designed with security in mind. Look for certification by a body such as the Loss Prevention Certification Board. Metal sheds will keep their contents dry but also need to have sufficient ventilation to prevent condensation forming inside. They will also last much longer than wooden or plastic sheds and may qualify you for a reduced insurance premium.
- POINTS OF ENTRY If a replacement shed is not feasible then, assuming that your current shed is wooden and in good condition, the most vulnerable point of entry is obviously the door, If fitted with a simple steel hasp and staple type lock, retained by steel screws then in most cases entry is extremely easy by forcing the lock. Cheap padlocks are also generally easy to hacksaw through quite quickly and without high noise levels being created as they are poor quality steel. Many sheds are located some distance away from the house so noises there are not noticed inside the property. A strong metal shed bar can be installed across the whole door and this can be strengthened by lining with ply or chip board to give an extra strong fixing position for the bar bolts.
- SHACKLED If the shed contents are high in value the determined thief will even try to break through the walls or roof but additional security can prevent the loss of these items. Donít make it easy for the criminal Ė itís all about making the target not worth the effort and building up the fear of capture in his mind by making it take longer to steal. You can secure bikes, lawn mowers etc together and anchor them using a device such as a Shed Shackle (its sister product can be used to anchor items to a solid wall such as breezeblock or brick). This is not only a visual deterrent but is a proven way of preventing loss, since attempts to separate the items can often cause noise, confusion and lead to the thief making a swift exit.
- SIGNAGE If you are investing in good quality internal security, supplement this with good quality weatherproof signage on the shed or approaches.- Gardien provides a range of preventative weatherproof signs
- GOING EQUIPPED Remember the thief rarely leaves home with a garden spade over his shoulder if his intention is to force entry into your home via your patio door or by forced entry through a main door or window. He will acquire it at the scene from your Shed.
- CAR BOOT BOOTY Thieves love to sell their ill-gotten gains at car boot sales, in the pub or to their mates, especially if they have not been property marked. Do not leave power tools etc. inside the shed. Better to store them inside the garage if you can (but check the security of the rear service door and the up-and-over garage door), or even in the house, but if they have to go in the shed then you can put them in a secure metal box and anchor it to the floor.
- DONíT ADVERTISE How many times have your overheard people in pubs talking about their new golf clubs, new lawnmower, new barbecue set, new tools etc? Remember that opportunist thieves spend time seeking out items to steal, they are good at what they do, they listen, they are cunning and they want easy prey.
- ALARMS Most shed alarms are poor and offer little resistance to the thief unless they are an extension of the main NSI approved household alarm. If you do fit a shed alarm make sure that it is not at the expense of good quality hardware which offers greater resistance and is far more resilient in the long term. Most shed alarms run on batteries and yes, you guessed it, the batteries are always flat when there is a break in.
- NATURAL SURVEILLANCE When positioning your shed in the garden try to ensure that it has a power source to provide an external light or at least it is positioned as closely to the main property as possible where security lighting should be fitted. Ensure that trees and vegetation around the should do not provide areas for the thief to conceal themselves whilst forcing entry.
Finally, be sure to check your insurance cover for the shed. Sheds are invariably treated as permanent buildings but bicycles and other valuables may well need to be separately identified and there could also be a minimum specification for locks.
Copyright Gardien Ltd 2014. Find us at www.garden-security.co.uk