Thursday, March 26, 2009

Watch out for green-fingered garden thieves, warns Saga home insurance

With the clocks going forward this weekend, home owners are likely to spend more time in the garden, and Saga is reminding people to protect outdoor equipment from thieves. Gardening is the most popular past time for the over 50s, and with the clocks going forward on Sunday, many will be making the most of the extra hour of daylight. But, says Saga Home Insurance, garden enthusiasts need to be careful; its research has revealed that March is one of the most popular months for garden thievery, which leads to an increase in home insurance claims. Saga's research has revealed that the average cost of replacing items stolen from gardens is £378, which is nearly as much as the average cost of flood and storm damage.
In response, Saga home insurance is urging people to make sure they have home insurance that covers their gardens. "Saga Home Insurance offers a Garden cover add-on for customers for just an extra £30, to cover plants, shrubs, vegetables, turf and lawns, rockeries, tools, equipment and furniture. The policy will also cover damage caused by theft, damage by smoke, fire, vandals and wild animals," said Saga Home Insurance.
Halifax home insurance is issuing a similar message – its research has found that garden theft increased by 63 per cent during the summer months last year, with the cost of replacing stolen items increasing by 12 per cent to more than £400. Senior claims manager for Halifax Home Insurance, Martyn Foulds, says it is all too easy to forget about how much items outside the home are worth. "The collective cost of patio furniture, barbecues and children's play equipment can soon add up," he said, "We'd advise people to check that their home insurance policy protects against theft from the garden and we'd also recommend making life as difficult as possible for the opportunist garden thief."

(Reproduced from

GARDIEN TIP: Follow the advice on our Prevention pages at

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Garden Theft in the United States

Well, surprise, surprise. The U.S. seems to be waking up to the fact that Garden Crime should be taken seriously, which is precisely wjhat we have been advocating here for the last eighteen months or so. Looks like we're ahead of them on this one. The following comments are taken from the American web site

"Garden theft is a little publicized, but widely occurring crime in the United States. There is no exact count on the number of plant thefts that occur each year because the United States does not have a national crime watch for this type of theft. The insurance companies of Great Britain, where this is a reported crime, estimate that 1 in 7 gardens are burglarized every summer. This thievery ranges from the very small- taking a few cuttings from a flowering bush while the owner is at work, to the very large- stealing an entire hedge while the owner is on vacation. Garden theft also includes the theft of garden furniture, lawn ornaments, garden sheds and equipment, such as lawnmowers. To protect your garden from theft, follow these tips from the Association of British Insurers.

Lock away expensive items such as lawnmowers when not in use
Make sure that sheds and garages have adequate security, and that door and window frames cannot be forced
Prune trees and shrubs near sheds, greenhouses and garages to prevent thieves working undetected
Consider planting theft-deterrent shrubs, such as those with prickly leaves and thorns close to vulnerable entry points
Keep the garden well lit. Consider installing security lighting"

For rather more comprehensive advice go to

Police warning as Spring brings out garden thieves

GARDEN security measures could prevent a spate of break-ins which traditionally result from the onset of warmer weather.Police are urging householders to consider home security measures in their garden following an increase in the theft of expensive lawnmowers and other garden equipment and tools from back gardens, sheds and garages across St Albans, Hertsmere and Welwyn Hatfield.They cited an incident last Friday when power tools were stolen from an address in Hardwicke Place, London Colney. Two 15-year-old boys were arrested on suspicion of theft and are currently on police bail.Neighbourhood Inspector Paul Hart said: "In a large proportion of burglaries, the burglar first gains access to the rear garden of someone's home and from there break into the back or side of the house."The reason for this is that the burglar thinks it is less likely they will be seen so the most important thing people can do is keep gates that allow access to the rear of your property locked securely at all times."There are many things that can be done to make your garden less attractive for burglars and many of them are inexpensive.

(Reproduced from the Hertforshire Advertiser, March 24th 2009)

GARDIEN TIP: See our Prevention advice at

Valuable garden ornaments theft

Tuesday 24th March 2009

GARDEN ornaments, some thought to be hundreds of years old, have been stolen from outside a house in Leigh Sinton, Worcestershire.
A wrought-iron pump serving a well, believed to have been installed when the house was built in 1790, two staddle stones, again originals, a blue stone bird bath and concrete flower urns were taken from the property in Hereford Road some time between Wednesday, March 18 and Friday March 20.
The ornaments are thought to be worth in total around £1,500, with the pump itself estimated at £500.
The home’s owner Aubrey Pritchard said: “All of the ornaments are very old and hold a great deal of sentimental value to us, as well as being worth quite a bit.
“We think someone must have seen the ornaments, weighed up the house, and come back for them. It would have taken more than once person to lift them and they must have had quite a tough vehicle. They would have loaded some of them just off the road so we hope that people saw this and can help the police with their investigations.”
Porcha Treanor, press officer with South Worcestershire Police, said: “We are appealing for witnesses to the crime or to anyone who have been offered these items for sale.
“Anyone with information can call 0300 333 3000 and quote incident number 505S/200309.”
The Pritchards are offering a reward for information that leads to the safe return of the goods.

(Reproduced from the Malvern Gazette)

GADIEN TIP: Do not assume anything is too heavy to pinch. Use Forensic DNA on garden antiques to facilitate the return of items to their owners. See our advice at

Monday, March 23, 2009

Huddersfield area garden crime

Extracts from the local Crimewatch

Milnsbridge, March 13 Bench stolen from back garden.
Milnsbridge, March 13. Stone stolen from side garden.
Cowlersley, March 15. Suspect got into front garden and stole rabbit and hutch.

Linthwaite, March 17. Would-be thief got into back garden of block of flats, removed Yorkshire paving slabs from pavement and leaned them against wall. But he was disturbed by witness and make off in vehicle leaving stone slabs behind.
Linthwaite, March 12. Paving stones lifted from back garden and stacked at the side of house. Suspect/s disturbed and make off empty handed.

(Reproduced from the Huddersfield Examiner)

GARDIEN TIP: Use Property Marking or Forensic DNA to deter theft and enable police to return goods to the rightful owner.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trampoline gets stolen

Sunday 22nd March 2009

GRANDAD Seamus Carol was jumping mad to find a 14ft trampoline had been pinched from his garden.

The giant jumping toy was bought for Seamus’s daughter Catherine four or five years ago and had become a permanent fixture in the family’s Walcot garden, until one night it mysteriously disappeared.

Seamus and Sally’s grandchildren Grace, six and five year old James loved to bounce around on the trampoline, and are now sad to learn their fun will be with two feet on the ground.

The trampoline is believed to have been stolen from the family’s South View Avenue garden on Monday evening. It is believed the thieves may have spotted it through the fence before plotting the mission to lift the mammoth toy out.

“It was a massive great big trampoline, 14-foot across,” said Seamus. We believe it happened Monday evening and have reported it to the police. They would have had to dismantle it to take it out over a 6ft6in fence. It’s just weird. It is so big we thought it was safe. But it has been dismantled without waking anybody up. It completely vanished over night apart from two springs and part of one leg. I’ve got a feeling they tried to come back for the rest the other night because there was someone in the garden who disappeared over the fence. I normally take it down in the winter, but this year I left it up. The house is more or less next to Lainesmead School and there’s a cycle path down the side of the garden. I think they must have seen it through the fence then decided to come back for it".

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the Carol family’s trampoline is urged to contact Swindon police on 0845 408 7000.

(Reproduced from This is Wiltshire)

GARDIEN TIP: Use Property Marking to deter thieves from taking anything of value from around your home.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stolen garden equipment seized in Didcot raid

Wednesday 18th March 2009

Police are trying to trace the owners of stolen garden equipment found during a search of a caravan in Didcot.

Officers raided the caravan, in Roxburgh Drive, on Saturday, March 7.

Now police are asking the public to check their sheds and garages to see if they have had any property stolen.

Pc Maria Morrisey, of Abingdon police station, said: “We carried out a comprehensive search of the property and found a large number of stolen items, mainly garden equipment, including rotavators and strimmers. Now we need to identify where is has been stolen from.

“There is an unusual pony and trap harness, along with a bridle and lead rope, which would be used for a large horse, and we're keen to trace their owners.

“The search came after a recent spate of burglaries in sheds and outbuildings across the Vale of White Horse.”

A 63-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft and is currently on police bail.

Anyone with information or who believes some of the stolen items may belong to them should call Pc Morrisey on 08458 505505.

(Reproduced from the Oxford Mail)

GARDIEN TIP: If the property had been marked with the postcode or by using Forensic DNA, the owners would have been instantly identified.

School garden vandalised

18th March 2009

A Haverfordwest junior school has lost valuable garden equipment following a recent incident of vandalism and theft.

Haverfordwest VC School, in Barn Street, was targeted by vandals between midnight on March 14th and 6am on Monday, March 16th.

The school grounds were entered and two seating areas destroyed. One made of logs was dismantled while a wooden bench was prized away from an attached garden table.

A padlock and bolt were also removed from a nearby gate.

All items were removed from the school grounds, causing police to treat the incident as one of both theft and criminal damage.

Anyone who witnessed the damage, or who has any information on the incident is asked to contact PC227 Norman at Haverfordwest police station on 0845 330 2000.

(Reproduced from the Western Telegraph)

GARDIEN TIP: School equipment should be property marked and the installation of CCTV equipment could also be considered.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pitchfork used to raid house

Tuesday 17th March 2009 High Wycombe:

1. A property in Clearbrook Close was broken between 8.30am and 7.15pm on Monday. A neighbour's pitchfork was used to force open a window and open a door. A search took place after the curtains were drawn and lights turned on. Property stolen included a laptop, Nintendo DS and games, camera, camcorder, and jewellery.

2. A “large amount” of property was stolen from a detached garage in Little Lane, Saunderton between 4pm on Saturday and 11am on Monday. Entry was gained by cutting through the security bar. A ride on petrol mower, childs mini motor cycle and quad bike were stolen. A large vehicle is thought to have removed the property.

(Extracted from Thames Valley Police Crime Round-up)

GARDIEN TIP: Don't leave garden tools in the open for use by opportunist thieves. Make sure that your home alarm system is extended to the garage. Visit and look at Gardien Recommends.
Also use property marking on valuable items and display notices to that effect - see

Youngsters 'devastated' by bikes theft

17 March 2009

A Toddington mum has issued a desperate appeal for the return of her sons' bikes, which were stolen from her garden shed.

Kerry Brennan, 26, says her sons Callum, eight, Reece, six, and Riley, two, are "devastated" at the theft of the bikes, which happened on Saturday, March 7.

Thieves broke into the brick shed at the family's home in Bush Close, and stole two motocross bikes and a quad bike, which Ms Brennan says are worth about £3,000 in total.

She said: "I hadn't been very well so the boys were staying with a friend. I came home on Saturday evening and everything was fine.

"It must have happened between 11pm and 8am. There was wood everywhere from the shed door, which had a lock on it. I think they'd used a screwdriver to wrench open the door.

"The police said it looked like they'd cut the bike chains with bolt croppers, and they said there would definitely have been more than one of them."

The motocross bikes were a KTM Pro Senior and a KTM Mini Adventurer, both orange and black, and the quad bike was a Suzuki LT50.

Ms Brennan added: "The boys just keep asking where their bikes are. I'm going to have to replace them but I don't know how."

If you have any information on the whereabouts of the boys' bikes, contact the newsdesk on 01582 798519.

(Reproduced from Luton Today)

GARDIEN TIP: Extend the home security alarm system to include the garage and property mark all expensive items to render resale worthless. See

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Police warning over bike thefts

Tuesday, March 10, 2009,

Police are encouraging cyclists to lock up their bikes after a spate of thefts in Bath.
Thieves have been breaking into sheds in Oldfield Park and Twerton and taking the bikes from inside.
Police say they have seen an increased number of incidents in the last few months and are encouraging residents to use adequate locks on their sheds.
They said bikes which had been locked together in pairs had still been taken.
PCSO Martyn Newman said: "The advice we would give to people is to be as careful as possible.
"Ensure locks on sheds are adequate and should be bolted rather than screwed on if appropriate.
"Also you should ensure locks on bikes are adequate, and where possible either keep the bike in the house or lock it to an immovable object."
He also suggested taking a photograph of the bike as well as recording information such as the frame number, which is often found between the pedals.
He said: "As a police force we recover many bikes we believe to be stolen, but we are unable to identify them therefore cannot return them to their rightful owners."
If anyone has any information or sees anyone acting suspiciously contact Bath police on 0845 4567000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

(Reproduced from the Bath Chronicle)

GARDIEN TIP: Visit our page on Shed and Outbuilding Security at

Distinctive bike stolen from Redditch garden

Monday 16th March 2009

POLICE are appealing for information following the theft of a distinctive bike from a garden in the Church Hill area of Redditch.

Between 9pm on Thursday, March 12 and 4.45pm on Saturday, March 14, thieves have stolen the petrol blue coloured Hoffman BMX bike worth around £300 from the back garden of a house in Fulbrook Close.

Police are appealing for anyone with information about the theft or the current whereabouts of the bike to call Redditch police on 0300 333 3000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from the Rdditch Advertiser)

GARDIEN TIP: Use Property Marking to put your postcode on to valuable items such as BMX bikes. This is a ver cheap solution which makes such items unattractive to thieves. Altenatively chain them up securely.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bikes and garden furniture stolen

12 March 2009

THIEVES stole two mountain bikes and a piece of garden furniture from a home in the North-East.

The intruders first broke into an outbuilding at a house in Teesbrooke Avenue, Hartlepool, and stole the two bikes.

Before they left they also took the 2ft outdoor mushroom-shaped ornament.

The first bike stolen was a red Carrera mountain bike with black handlebars and a black seat. The second is black with grey handlebars and a black seat.

The theft happened between 5pm on Friday, March 6, and 11am on Saturday, March 7th and anyone with information is asked to contact PC Darren Frankland on (01642) 302126

(Reproduced from the Hartleool Mail)

GARDIEN TIP: Strengthen the security of your shed or outbuilding with one of the optionms at

Monday, March 9, 2009

South Bucks theft reports

A MOTOCROSS bike, car numberplate and electrical goods have all been stolen from properties across south Bucks in a weekend spate of burglaries.

The bike was taken from a stable in the Hambleden area after thieves forced open the doors overnight on Friday and Saturday.

It is a Honda CR80 and is described as having a white petrol tank and orange seat. It is not fitted with registration plates.

Between 4pm and 8pm on Saturday afternoon, burglars forced their way through a skylight of a property in Cressex Road.

A black and silver Hewlett Packard laptop, a black Canon digital camera and a film camera were all stolen. Anyone with information on this break-in should contact PC Benfield.

Later the same evening a silver single-axled ERD 102 trailer was taken from the back garden of a home in Boundary Road, Loudwater, after the property's metal gates were taken off their hinges.

The phone number for anyone with information is 08458 505 505.

(Reproduced from "This is Local London" website 9th March)

GARDIEN TIPS: The Motocross bike merited stronger security by way of a Shed Shackle or Ground Anchor, and almost certainly the door locks could have been stronger. Property marking with the owner's postcode would also make resale more difficult and would aid traceability.
Hinge caps should always be fitted to prevent gates being lifted off and expensive trailers should be anchored to a secure post or ground anchor. Again property marking is recommended for items of value. See for the solutions to all these problems

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Prize birds have flown

PRIZE-WINNING canaries stolen from an aviary could have been snatched by bird enthusiasts.
Police say they are investigating the theory that fellow bird fanciers are behind the theft of 13 show birds.
The canaries were taken from an aviary in Roy Severn's back garden on Tuesday night.
Mr Severn is well known for his prize-winning birds, which are worth up to £200 per pair, and which he shows around the region.
He agrees with the police's theory that a fellow bird fancier took the canaries.
"They must have known what they were after."
The 71-year-old discovered the theft after the thieves triggered the alarm system in the shed where they were kept in Breach Road, Heanor.
He said: "I have kept canaries for more than 20 years and it is my favourite hobby.
"The shed where I keep the birds has electric light and central heating and is especially set up for the birds. There is an alarm system that is hooked up to the house and it went off at about 10.30pm. I went out to the garden and saw that the lock had been cut on the shed and 13 birds were gone.
It is devastating. The thieves just cut the locks on the shed and used the cages in there to carry them out. They must have known what they were looking for."
Mr Severn said all the birds had rings on the legs which carried individual numbers, making it difficult to sell the canaries on.
Mr Severn added: "I just hope the birds are ok and hope that anyone with information will go to the police."
Anyone with information is asked to call Derbyshire police on 0345 123 3333 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

(Reproduced from the Derby Evening Telgraph)

GARDIEN TIP: Don't just rely on an alarm system. As in this case, it is often too late to stop the theft from happening. Strengthen the physical security to make entry a very difficult (and noisy) job.

Widow’s anguish at theft of birds

A Telford pensioner has been left devastated after thieves stole birds from her late husband’s beloved aviary.

The thieves struck on four nights at the home of 81-year-old Dorothy Phillips in Ketley Bank, stealing a total of 14 birds from the aviary over the last nine days.

Mrs Phillips was forced to stay up into the early hours today watching the aviary to ensure that the thieves did not return for her last few birds.

Her husband, Raymond, 85, died in May and particularly enjoyed the aviary for the last three years of his life while he was housebound.

Mrs Phillips said: “My late husband and I have had them for quite a few years.

“That’s all he could do at the end, just sit and look at the aviary.

“The rogues who go around for these birds must know I’m on my own now, because they didn’t come when Raymond was alive,” she added.

“I had some beautiful yellow canaries - the birds were like children to me.”

Constable Pete Simmonds, Telford police spokesman, said: “A number of captive birds have been reported as stolen from a Telford garden aviary.

“The aviary in Ketley Bank has been opened and subsequently closed and a number of canaries, finches and Java sparrows are missing.

“Fourteen birds in total have been reported as stolen with a value of £80”.

(Reproduced from the Shropshire Star)

GARDIEN TIP: Items of sentimental value need as much protection as items of monetary value. Make access to your garden as difficult as possible by looking at our Prevention pages -

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Problems around Huddersfield

Moldgreen, Feb 17. Entered front garden of house and lifted Yorkshire stone paving slabs which they stacked for removal. Raiders are disturbed by a neighbour and made off without the property.
Almondbury, Feb 21. Garden shed window forced open and petrol lawn mower, strimmer, wheel chair and small child’s quad bike stolen.
Almondbury, Feb 18. Stones thrown at greenhouse causing damage to three panes.
Almondbury, Feb 21. Entered front garden and pulled plants from pots and bushes from garden.
Dalton, Feb 21. Damaged garden fence.
Almondbury, Feb 17. Threw stone at window above rear door causing damage.
Almondbury, Feb 23. Used large stone from garden to smash upvc patio doors at rear of address.
(Excerpts from The Huddersfield Daily Examiner)

GARDIEN COMMENT: The above problems all occurred within a few days in a relatively small area. Multiply it across the country and the situation is appalling. Garden crime needs to be taken seriously and most gardens are far too easy to get into. See our Prevention pages at

GARDIEN TIP: When laying new slabs, score your postcode into the underside. For older stones use SelectaDNA on the slabs and put up a warning sign advisinbg of this