Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Couple are left devastated as last gift from son is stolen

AN elderly couple are devastated after thieves stole a garden ornament given as the last gift from their late son.
Alois and Evelyn Piska were distraught to discover the 3ft stone statue had been taken from their back garden. The white garden ornament – a woman holding a bird in her hand – was given to 89-year-old Mr Piska as a birthday present from son Dominic about three years before he died. It had stood outside their home in Parkstone Avenue, Southsea, for about 14 years before thieves stole it overnight on September 12. Mrs Piska, 87, said: 'It had been there for so many years. It has got a lot of sentimental value. 'Dominic gave it as a present for his father's birthday about three years before his death.' It was just something that was there that we could see every day that reminded us of Dominic.' Sadly 34-year-old Dominic, who suffered from bipolar disorder – also known as manic depression – died after gassing himself with fumes from his car exhaust near Reading in October 1999.Mrs Piska added: 'It's extremely upsetting. Dominic was our youngest son and we all miss him terribly. 'The ornament was the last thing he ever bought for us. I just can't believe anybody would be so sneaky as to do this.' Mrs Piska added: 'We're not holding out much hope of getting it back, but I would like other people to know that this sort of thing is happening. 'The theft took place on the same night that crooks stole a 3ft stone dog statue given by electrician John Bamborough as a gift to his late wife Georgina – known as Nina – 14 years ago. The treasured ornament, which resembles the couple's pet golden retriever Toby, was taken from the 76-year-old's garden in South Road, Horndean, overnight on September 12. Anyone with any information about the missing statue should contact Hampshire police on 0845 045 45 45, the non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

(Reproduced from The News (Portsmouth) 30th Sept

GARDIEN TIP: See our advice re garden statuary at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Levens clock theft linked to missing sundial

BURGLARS who snatched a £200,000 Thomas Tompion clock from Levens Hall near Kendal last month could be responsible for the theft of a valuable sundial.
Detectives suspect the disappearance of the 300-year-old sundial from Dalemain house, near Penrith, is linked to the Levens burglary due to connections between its maker and Tompion.
The Sundial, which is worth between £50,000 and £60,000, was carefully removed from the garden of the stately home between September 6 and 9.
Its maker, Richard Whitehead, a renowned mathematical instrument maker, produced the intricate clock faces and dials for Tompion’s famous timepieces.
Detective Constable Damian West of South Cumbria CID said this obvious link, as well as the timings of the incidents and the fact both antiques were stolen from open historic houses had led police to combine the two investigations.
“All leads are being investigated,” he said. “It is too early say whether the items were stolen for a private collection or by a criminal gang. It may have been people who have stolen items not realising how valuable they are.”
Robert Hasell-McCosh, the owner of Dalemain House, said he had been ‘devastated’ to discover the sundial had been taken.
“I am very upset,” he said. “It is a great loss. It has been at Dalemain House since it was built in the 1680s.”
A £2,000 reward has been issued for the return of the sundial, which features an octagonal bronze dial and a 32-point compass.
A £20,000 reward is also available to anyone who helps recover the Tompion table clock, which was seized from the first floor library of Levens Hall at around 5am on September 19.
Offenders stole a ladder from the hall’s maintenance shed, scaled the estate wall and forced their way through a valuable lead-paned window to get to the rare 17th century antique.
‘Horrified’ hall owner Hal Bagot was left shaken and saddened by the burglary.
The clock had been on loan to Levens Hall and was damaged during the incident, with one of its four feet left at the crime scene.
A bronze figure of Napoleon on horseback by E.B. Mason worth around £5,000 was also taken, before the offenders made off on foot along the A6.
DC West is urging the public for help and would like to hear from anybody who visited the stately homes prior to the thefts and saw people acting suspiciously around the missing antiques.
“We would also ask anyone who witnessed any suspicious people or vehicles near the houses around the time of the burglaries or who has been approached by people selling similar looking items to get in touch,” he added.
Anyone with any information can contact DC West on 0845-3300-247 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.

(Reproduced from the Westmorland Gazette, 29th Sept)

GARDIEN TIP: There are certain things which camn be done to minimise the risk of valuable items being stolen, See for advice

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Plea for the return of pet rabbit

A HEARTBROKEN girl has pleaded for the return of her pet rabbit after it was stolen from her back garden. Seven-year-old Tia Giles hasn’t stopped crying since Willow, which she was given as a birthday present, vanished from the family home in Wittington Green, Medmenham, on Monday. The family believes the mini-lop rabbit, which cost £30, was snatched by someone who mistook its distinct butterfly markings as a sign of a pedigree breed. Tia’s father, David, branded the theft "cold-hearted" and "callous". He said: "I can’t believe there are people like this about. "It is very distressing. Tia is very upset — we took her out for a meal just to try to comfort her. She has had to break the news to all her classmates and teachers." The family believes the thief climbed over the locked garden gate before lifting the rabbit out of a secure rabbit run.

(Reproduced from The Henley Standard, 24th September)

GARDIEN TIP: Often a victim of garden crime suffers an emotional rather than a financial loss, as in this case, and sadly there are too many cases of pet thefts being reported. Access to the garden has to be made as difficult as possible - see the advice at

Thieves steal statue from tragic child's memorial garden

HEARTLESS thieves have stolen a treasured stone statue from the memorial garden of a two-year-old boy in Skelmersdale.
Staff at the Branching Out Nursery, Birch Green Road arrived at work on the morning of Monday, September 14 to discover the tractor-shaped planter was missing.
The £200 ornament took pride of place in a garden created in memory of Harry, a young boy who attended the nursery and died suddenly almost two years ago.
The statue has great sentimental value and was funded by donations from family and friends following his death.
Employees at the nursery, based at St John’s Children’s Centre, are now appealing for its safe return.
“The timing of this theft is particularly cruel, as it is almost the two-year anniversary on Harry’s sudden death.
“We just want the tractor back, and would ask for its safe return – no questions asked.”
The stone tractor and trailer were last seen in the garden on Friday, September 11. It is believed that the theft is the work of more than one person, given the shape and weight of the statue.
A spokesperson for Skelmersdale Police said: “We are investigating an incident at St John’s Children’s Centre on Birch Green Road following the report of a theft of a stone tractor and trailer garden ornament from the play area.
“Anyone with any information is asked to contact Skelmersdale Police on 0845 1 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

(Reproduced from Ormskirk & Skelmersdale Advertiser, 24th Sept)

GARDIEN TIP: There are methods available to minimse the risk of theft of outdoor items and to maximise the possibilty of return to the rightful owner. See the advice at

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cycle theft after epic trip

HOTEL worker Kerrie Stritton cycled more than 2,000 miles from Nice to the Island without incident — only to have her bike stolen in Ventnor. Kerrie, 31, from Park Avenue, saved up the £500 she needed to buy her bike and spent 68 days cycling from the south of France back to the Island. Kerrie, who works in the family Eversleigh Hotel opposite her home, said: "I was with my partner, Paul Sears, and we cycled through seven countries, camping along the way.
Kerrie is pictured cycling in Switzerland. "After we got back to the Island, Paul cleaned my bike up but forgot to lock it up overnight and by the morning it had been stolen from the garden. "We had travelled all that way only to have it stolen days before I am due to take part in the round-the-Island bike ride at the weekend. "I’d really like to get it back, so I could take part on it. "Kerrie’s bike is an eight-month-old 27-gear Focus Medusa.•
Anyone with information can contact CID on 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from the Isle of Wight County Press, 19th September)

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fears after thieves snatch baby rabbits from Stockton garden

THREE BABY rabbits, just four weeks old, have been snatched from their hutch in a cruel dawn raid by thieves.
It is the second time this summer rabbits have been stolen from the garden of 70-year-old Ann Campbell.
Now, the widow fears for the safety of the vulnerable pets who may not survive away from their mother. She said: "They were taken early last Monday from the hutch they share with their mother, Bobtail, and the four other members of the litter.
"They hadn't been handled yet because of their age - they weren't ready to leave their mother."
One of the bunnies is black and white, and the other two are white with ginger markings.
"We're very vulnerable round here, there have been several occasions when rabbits have been stolen from hutches. Only four months ago someone broke into my hutch and stole the rabbit, so I put a padlock on, but they just ripped the fitting off," said Ann.
Ann started keeping rabbits at her home in Norton Grange, Stockton, two years ago, when she found an escaped one in her garden.
Bobtail was another pet she found on the loose, and when she took her in, she thought she was a he! "I was a little taken aback when I looked into the hutch and saw the bunnies," she said.
The rabbits' anxious mother stopped eating for several days after the little ones were stolen.
The RSPCA condemned the theft. A spokesman said: "The first few weeks of any animal's life is crucial. A baby rabbit should remain with its mother for at least nine weeks to ensure the youngster gets the vital nourishment and care required during this formative stage." Owners should consider getting their pets microchipped, the RSPCA said
Cleveland police are investigating the theft. Call PC Jennifer Longstaff at Stockton on 01642 302226 if you can help.

(Reproduced from Middlesbrough & Teesside Evening Gazette 15th September)

GARDIEN TIP: Far too many thefts of animals are taking place and some basic security provisions need to be considered. Access to the garden must be made difficult and high quality locks such as the Neulock should be used to maximise the security of wooden buildings - see

Bikes targeted by thieves across Maldon district

BIKE owners have again been urged to protect their two wheels from theft after five bikes were stolen in a week.
Too many bikes are still being left as easy targets for opportunist thieves according to Christine Walker of Maldon police, after five bikes, which had all been left insecure, were stolen across the Maldon district.
A DMR Trail Star bike worth £450 was stolen from a front garden in Falcon Fields, Maldon, between September 5 and 9.
It has “Hone” written on the frame.
Again in Falcon Fields, overnight between September 8 and 9, two bikes worth £110 were stolen from the front garden.
The first was a ladies pink mountain bike with a black gel seat and seat cover, with a yellow bike chain looped and secured around the handlebars and a green and black bike lock also wrapped and secured around the handlebars.
The second was a blue boys mountain bike with the word “Tiger” written in red on the frame.
A blue Apollo ladies bike worth £100 was stolen between 9.30am and 11am on September 6 in Coates Close, Heybridge.
It had been left insecure in the front garden.
Then on September 8 in Glendale Road, Burnham, a Shockwaves ATB silver bike worth £350 was stolen from the driveway of the property between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.
Mrs Walker said: “Bike locks are still available from the police station.
“If you do have locks then use them and don’t leave bikes on show, no matter how short of time you are.”
Any witnesses or anyone with information about this week’s incidents should contact either Maldon police station on 01621 852255, or Southminster police station on 01621 773663.

(Reproduced from the Maldon Standard, 15th September)

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Thieves steal garden ornament

THE OWNER of a stolen garden ornament has urged fellow residents to beware of thieves who may be operating in the area.
Grandmother-of-four Margaret Sullivan reported the solid concrete boy-with-birdbath stolen, after discovering it had gone missing from her Dinas Powys home overnight between Tuesday, September 1 and Wednesday, 2. The distinctive ornament was taken from the front garden of the bungalow she shares with husband Dennis, 75.
It had accompanied them to every address they had lived in following its purchase 17 years ago.
Margaret, 70, of Longmeadow Drive, said: "I just want to make people aware that if they have been offered it at a car boot sale, it was stolen.
"It’s quite heavy so it was definitely somebody with a car.
"People are shocked it’s gone."
Police confirmed an incident had been reported to them.
Anyone with any information concerning the ornament’s theft or its whereabouts, should call Penarth police station on 101.

(Reproduced from the Penarth Times, Sept 12th)

GAREDIEN TIP: Never under-estimate the determination of a thief (or thieves) to remove large, heavy objects. Follow the advice at and also make access to the garden as difficult as possible - advice on this is available at

Tandridge plant criminals in spree of garden thefts.

Green-fingered thieves are terrorising a Surrey district with a spree of front garden thefts.
Plant pots, trees and hanging baskets have been stolen throughout the district over the past six weeks.
The most recent thefts occurred overnight between Sunday, 30 August and Monday, 31 August.
A pair of 4ft Topiary trees, which stood either side of a front door in Buxton Lane, Caterham, were stolen and hanging baskets were targeted again in Clayton Mead, Godstone.
Previously, four 6ft Leylandii plants from a house in Fenemore Road, Whyteleafe, two plastic swirl-shaped trees worth £40 from Whyteleafe Road, Caterham, and two hanging baskets from outside a house in Roseacre, Oxted.
The earliest reports of this type of crime occurred overnight from July 26-27, when two plant pots containing 4ft fuchsias worth £70 were stolen from Wheeler Avenue, Oxted.
Sergeant Dan Gutierrez said: "These thefts are quite unusual and have caused considerable annoyance to the victims.
"Those affected have invested a considerable amount of time and money in their gardens and it is not acceptable for their plants and other equipment to be stolen.
"If anyone has any information regarding these thefts, I would urge them to contact a member of their local Safer Neighbourhood Team. We are working hard to tackle crime across Tandridge and with your help we can put a stop to these thefts."
Anyone with information regarding stolen plants is encouraged to contact Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222.

(Reproduced from Sept 11th)

GARDIEN TIP: Sadly such crimes have become quite commonplace. Advice on prevention can be found at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stroke victim devastated by thieves' raid

THIEVES who raided a garden and stole a bird feeder and solar lights have been accused of robbing a disabled stroke victim of one her "few simple pleasures".
Caroline Stewart, 61, suffered a stroke in 2006, which left her paralysed down one side and reliant on the care of her husband Bill and a carer. Her life now revolves around her home and garden, on Barclay Way in Livingston, and she enjoys watching the birds feed from the double feeder outside her window and admiring the garden which was lit by eight solar lights in the evening. However, the couple awoke on Tuesday morning to find the bird feeder gone and all but one of their solar lights missing. The remaining solar light was found smashed beneath the rotary washing line. Bill, 61, a retired special constable who was recently made redundant from Bank of Scotland subsidiary Intelligent Finance, said: "When she's not watching television or reading, she likes to look out of the French windows and see the birds feeding. "We've even got a woodpecker comes by, and my wife loves it when 'Woody' comes to visit. Now the feeder is gone, along with the solar lights. I found one of them smashed beneath the whirlygig in the garden. "It just seems so pointless. Who would want to steal a bird feeder? "The total value of the items stolen came to over £100.
However, it's not the first time the Stewarts' garden has been wrecked in recent months. In June, a car backed into their garden shed in the early hours of the morning before speeding off. Mr Stewart added: "I heard a crash and thought Caroline had fallen out of bed, but when I saw she was safely tucked up I went to investigate and found the shed sitting at a 45-degree angle in the garden. The power washer was also crushed, which I didn't discover until I tried to use it and the water poured out of the sides like Niagara Falls and I got absolutely soaked. "It cost us about £300 to replace everything, which we claimed on the insurance, but now we're going to have to spend more money replacing the stolen lights and feeder. "Although the value of the items was quite small, I contacted the police to let them know that someone may be prowling around the area looking for things to steal. "As a former special constable I know that the police would not devote a great deal of resources to investigating or publicising such a small crime, but I figured if we spoke out it would at least let people know to be on their guard."
Lothian and Borders Police confirmed they were investigating the theft of garden items.

(Reproduced from 10th September

GARDIEN TIP: Make access to your garden as difficult as is reasonably possible. Follow the advice at

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Charity garden hit by thieves

Callous thieves have ruined a garden revamp at Reading Association for the Blind after stealing trellis donated by a member.
The dark green trellis was fixed to the Carey Street garden fence but when a volunteer returned to finish the work it was nowhere to be seen.
Charity centre manager Dawn Singleton was shocked. She said: “I want the thieves to realise they have stolen part of an invaluable aspect of our association, which is very important to our members.”
The town centre garden project was funded by donations from the community, local businesses and from members themselves.
“We are a registered charity and this will now cost us almost £200 to replace the trellis – which we cannot afford to do,” she added.
The garden revamp at the association is part of a project that was started earlier this year.
Ms Singleton said: “Our members value our services which form a major contribution to their day-to-day lives and we use our garden regularly for social events such as coffee mornings.
“We have now had to remove the garden furniture in fear of this being stolen too.”
Disgusted John McNicholas, crime reduction officer with Thames Valley Police, visited the scene after the theft and has recommended anti-climb paint be used to deter criminals.
He said: “This theft was a despicable act as the offenders would have known they were stealing from a charity that supports the blind and visually impaired. Anti-climb paint will mean any further attempts to enter the garden will result in the intruder getting literally plastered.
“It seems that nowadays you can’t leave anything lying around, especially out in the open, without it being at risk of being stolen.
“High fences and walls around the back garden of your property have to be the ultimate solution. Plastering walls, fences and the upper sections of posts in this special security paint is an effective measure.”
Mr McNicholas said this must be at least two metres up from the ground and have signs up warning people that it is there.
He added: “It is also a good idea to site garden ornaments and furniture within view of your house and remember to use lighting with a movement sensor to help you to keep an eye on them – this should also deter the criminal.”
If you have any information about the incident contact Mr McNicholas on 08458 505 505 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

(Reproduced from 1st September)

GARDIEN TIP: The above article includes some sound advice. Further advice and quality garden security products can be found at