Keep thieves away this summer

May 6, 2010

With the good weather and long days approaching, everyone wants to make the most of their gardens and allotments.

To ensure you can relax and enjoy the summer, Stephen Armson-Smith,  Braintree district’s crime reduction advisor, has a few top tips for keeping your garden equipment and plants safe from theft.

Stephen said: “I would urge everyone to make a note of all their gardening equipment, recording the make, model and serial number.

“We also recommend that you mark all your equipment in a highly visible manner, such as scratching or engraving or using a permanent security marker, showing your postcode and house number or name. This makes it less attractive to thieves as the equipment is then much harder to sell on the black market.”

“Also, do securely lock your shed, with bolts that cannot be prised off. Larger tools and items such as bikes and lawn mowers should ideally be chained to a shed shackle on the wall, or to an ‘Eye’ type anchor fixed into the concrete floor inside the shed.”

Shed doors can be further secured with shed alarms and a “shed bar” lock. Approved security products can be seen on the Sold Secure and Secured by Design websites.

Stephen added: “Please don’t advertise your gardening equipment to passers-by. If you keep your tools in your garage or a shed, don’t leave the door open for long periods for everyone to see. In addition, if you’ve just bought some new gardening equipment, don’t put the box out for collection at the roadside: please turn the box inside out or break it down so it fits inside the bag or bin, protecting your privacy.”

There are also plenty of ways of increasing the security of your back gardens, particularly through using what the experts call “defensive planting”.

Stephen said: “In everyday language, ‘defensive planting’ means putting prickly shrubs in areas of your garden where they can deter would-be thieves. So, if your garden borders public areas consider planting prickly bushes in that area.”

Residents should also consider topping fences with trellis that will collapse on the weight of someone climbing it, or alternately adding a spiky topping to fences, with relevant warning signs affixed to the fence.

Stephen concludes: “By following these simple steps, you can increase your chance of enjoying a summer free of crime.”

If you live in mid- or north Essex and require further information on keeping your shed and garden secure, please contact crime reduction advisor Peter Caulfield for Uttlesford, on 0300 3334444.

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