Police in Telford have issued a warning to local residents after a recent rise in the number of incidents where items such as garden furniture and bicycles have been taken from gardens in the town. The arrival of summer often sees an increase in thefts from gardens and sheds and although crime remains low across Telford & Wrekin, and West Mercia as a whole, around 1,000 shed burglaries do take place every year across West Mercia. The most recent garden theft in Telford - which is one of six over the past two weeks - occurred at an address on Bishopdale in Brookside sometime between 10.45pm on Wednesday 2nd June and 5am on Thursday 3rd June. Sometime overnight thieves entered the rear garden at the property through the gate and stole a number of items from inside. The stolen items include a set of garden furniture - including an oval table, 4 metal chairs and 2 reclining chairs; a hexagonal charcoal barbecue and two Apollo, mini mountain bikes. One of the bikes is light blue in colour while the other is dark blue.
Garden security is part of West Mercia Police'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 leaflet that gives further security advice, which is available to download from the force website (www.westmercia.police.uk) and from garden centres and police stations. PC Fred Jones, Crime Risk Manager in Telford, 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 sheds in their gardens or allotments. Often they are unsecured or not strong or secure enough to defend against thieves." We are advising people to look at how to secure their gardens and allotments and if necessary make some adjustments. Allotments in particular are becoming more and more popular, so now is a good time to advise those who are taking them on of a few simple steps they can take to reduce the risk of being targeted by thieves." PC Jones advises local residents to do the following: Gates, fences and walls should be kept in good repair to stop intruders getting in your garden. Grow 'defensive planting' (prickly plants, bushes and shrubs) close to vulnerable areas such as windows, fences, boundary walls and drainpipes. Most sheds are not designed for safe storage and should not be used to store expensive equipment such as garden tools, mowers and power tools. Never leave such items in an allotment shed and put up a sign to let potential thieves know it is not worth their while attempting to break in. If you have nowhere else to store expensive equipment at home, take measures to secure your domestic shed by using a closed shackle padlock and screws that cannot be undone from the outside. Chain together tools to heavy items so they are harder to steal. Battery-powered shed alarms are inexpensive and can be bought from hardware shops, DIY stores or locksmiths. Don't leave ladders and tools lying around in your garden - these could be used to break into your home. . Mark your tools and equipment using Smartwater or with your postcode using a UV pen. Make a note of the serial numbers on your equipment.
(Reproduced from West Mercia Police bulletin, June 6th)
Gardien Tip: We keep saying it - garden crime is serious problem in the UK. Advice and solutions can be found together at www.garden-security.co.uk