Safer Worcester Safe & Sound Scheme
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Nip garden crime in the bud
West Mercia Constabulary is urging people to protect themselves from burglars by reviewing and improving their garden and shed security.
The arrival of spring often heralds an increase in thefts from garden sheds. Around 1,000 shed burglaries take place every year across West Mercia, so it is important that people take the time to ensure their valuables are stored securely.
Garden security is part of the force's Safe & Secure campaign, which provides people with advice about how they can make their homes, gardens and cars more secure.
The force has produced a crime prevention advice leaflet, which gives handy tips on how people can make their gardens and sheds more secure and prevent burglars from breaking in. The ‘Tips to Nip Garden Crime in the Bud' leaflet is available to download from the force website www.westmercia.police.uk and will also be available shortly from garden centres and police stations across Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire.
PC Rebecca Handy, from the force's Local Policing Support team said:
"While many people take steps to protect their homes and the property inside them, they often leave valuable equipment such as power tools, mowers, garden tools and bikes in unsecured sheds or in sheds that are not strong or secure enough to protect the items from thieves.
"Garden crime is an unfortunate reality so we are advising people to look at how secure their garden is and if necessary make some adjustments to help ‘weed out' garden thieves."
Here are West Mercia Constabulary's top tips on how to make a garden more secure:
- Gates, fences and walls should be kept in good repair to stop intruders getting in.
- Grow ‘defensive planting' (prickly plants, bushes and shrubs) close to vulnerable areas such as windows, fences, boundary walls and drainpipes.
- Most garden sheds are not designed for safe storage and should not be used to store expensive equipment such as garden tools, mowers, mountain bikes and power tools. If you have no where else to store valuable equipment, take measures to secure your shed by using a closed shackle padlock or invest in an alarm.
- Don't leave ladders and tools lying around in your garden – these could be used to break into your home.
- Mark your garden tools and equipment with your postcode using a UV pen or similar device. Make a note of the serial numbers on your equipment and consider taking photographs of the items stored in your shed so you have a record in case your shed is burgled.
- Check your household insurance policy carefully to ensure it covers garden and shed equipment and whether any minimum security standards apply.
For more details on keeping your garden secure, please visit West Mercia Constabulary's website www.westmercia.police.uk, which also provides crime prevention advice for your home and vehicle.
To report a garden crime please call the non emergency police number 0300 333 3000.