Don’t make your garden an open invitation for thieves. Bikes, lawnmowers, ornaments, tools, plants and garden furniture are the most commonly stolen items, but thieves will often steal whatever they can get their hands on.
On average, 1 in 7 households a year experience a theft from their garden. To reduce your chances of being a victim you should look to see how you can improve your garden’s security. Here are some top tips:
It’s vital that your gates are in a good state of repair and are securely locked with padlocks. You can’t rely on a bolt to prevent thieves gaining entry. If you don’t lock your gates a thief would find it easy to steal items such as your lawnmower, garden furniture and bikes, as they wouldn’t draw much attention to themselves as they moved them. If your gates were locked, they’d have to jump over your gates for access and moving large or heavy items would be very difficult.
If you have broken fence panels, now is the time to get them replaced. You don’t want the fences at the front of your property to be too high as this could prevent passers-up from seeing anyone up to no good. Opt for a fence that’s no higher than 1.2m at the front, but you can have one up to 2m high at the back of your property without needing planning permission.
If you have plants or trees in pots, try to weigh them down with bricks or anchor them to the ground so they’re harder to move. Hanging baskets are often targeted by thieves as they’re easy to steal from the front of properties, so use a chain to secure yours. Whenever you plant new shrubs or trees, remove the labels and give the whole area a water. This will make it harder for a thief to know what’s been newly planted and what’s been in situ for years.
If you’re thinking of planting a hedge, try to opt for something prickly, such as a hawthorn or blackthorn. They look beautiful, while being a great security barrier at the same time. Your hedges need to be well maintained and trimmed back, especially those situated at the front of your property as you don’t want thieves to be able to hide in their shadows.
Your shed’s door needs to be padlocked shut and any bikes inside should be attached to an immovable object. Ideally you should have two padlocks on your door, one at the top and one at the bottom. You could fit grilles to the shed window and have curtains that are closed when you’re not in your shed, so that no one can peer inside to see if you’ve anything worth stealing.
When not in use; lawnmowers, tools, BBQs and patio sets should be stored away in either your shed, garage or an outbuilding. You should never leave ladders or tools lying around in your garden as they could be used by thieves to gain entry to your home or a neighbouring property.
You should mark items in your garden by etching or writing on your postcode and house number, using a UV pen or forensic marking solution. Expensive plants and Koi carp can be implanted with microchips but make sure you put up signs telling would-be thieves what you’ve done. Not only will this act as a deterrent but if something is taken and later recovered by the police it’ll be returned to you.
Lights and CCTV
Thieves want to operate unnoticed so installing motion activated lights and CCTV cameras to the front and back of your property can help encourage thieves to walk on by. If they do decide to steal from your garden you should have video evidence you can share with the police.
If you don’t have home insurance, it’s well worth getting some quotes and choosing a policy that gives you the cover you want for a great price.
If you have home insurance already, have a read through your policy documents to see what is and what isn’t covered. There may be conditions you have to meet and you may need to add garden cover as an extra.