Friday, November 27, 2009

Cancer patient pensioner, 69, devastated by theft of bird table

A CANCER sufferer preparing for a life-saving operation was shocked to find thieves had struck at his Swindon home.
Keith Hawkes, 69, from Walcot, is awaiting the removal of a tumour from his throat in the Neptune Ward at the Great Western Hospital.
The father-of-three was upset to be told by his daughter Claire that thieves had stolen a 3ft wooden bird table from his back garden when he was in hospital.
He told the Adver he’d been looking forward to recovering at his council house by watching the birds feed from the table.
“It’s terrible,” said Mr Hawkes, a former Great Western Railway Works fireman on the footplate.
“I couldn’t believe it when my daughter told me what had happened. I don’t understand why someone would want to take it.
“It was something I was really looking forward to seeing when I got home. It was keeping me going.
“I usually watch the birds fly in and out for hours every morning.
“It’s always lovely to see.”
Mr Hawkes, who was diagnosed with throat cancer in July, said thieves must have got over the back fence. He said none of his neighbours had spotted anything unusual.
“It’s upsetting to think someone has come into my garden and taken my property,” said Keith.
“I did have a tear in my eye when I was told it had gone.”
He said he hopes the bird table will be returned as soon as possible.
Any information about the theft can be passed onto Swindon Police by calling 0845 408 7000.
Alternatively ring Crimestoppers, where information can be left anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from the Swindon Advertiser, Nov 27th)

GARDIEN Tip: Make it as difficult as possible for unwanted people to get into your garden. See the advice at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Police chief to launch Farm Watch

SUSSEX Police Chief Constable Martin Richards will be at the South of England Showground in Ardingly tomorrow (Tuesday November 24) to launch Farm Watch, a partnership between the police and the farming community to fight rural crime.
Farm Watch has been operating in parts of Sussex since 2003 and Mr Richards and representatives from the rural community will be describing its expansion it as a countywide initiative. The event starts at midday and is open to the public. The launch includes a new and improved website – - where Farm Watch members can share crime-related information and receive crime prevention advice. They can also sign up to a text alert service. Other services offered by Farm Watch include advice from crime prevention officers on property security and a property marking scheme to make it harder for thieves to dispose of stolen goods. The key aim is to stress the importance of vigilance and communication – both within rural and farming communities and between rural communities and Sussex Police. Mr Richards said: "I'd encourage farmers, or any members of the rural community who feel they may benefit, to sign up to Farm Watch as soon as possible. They can sign up at the launch event in Ardingly or, if they can't make it to the event, simply by visiting the Farm Watch website. "A recent Farm Watch success story is the recovery of a significant amount of stolen saddles, tack, stone garden ornaments and furniture following search warrants obtained by Sussex Police. As a result of the searches at two properties in Hampshire and Surrey, which involved 30 officers, additional searches at other addresses were conducted, resulting in the seizure of further suspected stolen property. Four arrests were made and officers are in the process of repatriating the property with its rightful owners

(Reproduced from the Littlehampton Gazette, 24th November)

GARDIEN TIP: Property marking is a cheap, effective way of making it easier for the police to return property to its rightful owner. See Security of sheds and outbuildings should also be strengthened, see

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two arrested over thefts from Chipping Norton gardens

Police have seized a stash of ornaments believed to have been stolen from gardens in the Chipping Norton area.
A van was stopped by police in Over Norton on Saturday by police investigating a spate of thefts from gardens.
Two men aged 19 and 25 arrested on suspicion of theft have been released on bail until January 2, 2010.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim should call police on 08458 505505

(Reproduced from the Oxford Mail, 19th November)

GARDIEN TIP: Use Property Marking to make it easier for the police to return goods to their rightful owners. See

Friday, November 13, 2009

Widower, 85, left 'devastated' at theft of hospice tree

A WIDOWER is devastated after a special tree planted by his late wife has been dug up and stolen.
Cyril Gill, 85, said this week marked the fourth anniversary of his wife Ruby’s death and the whole family was ‘upset’ by the theft from a hospice’s garden.
The monkey puzzle tree was planted by Ruby five years ago, while she was a patient at the Joseph Weld Hospice in Dorchester.
Mr Gill, of Lodmoor, Weymouth, said: “We had a proper ceremony with all the trustees from the hospice when we planted it.
“We bought the tree from Bridport and I pushed Ruby in her wheelchair so she could plant it. My wife was quite taken up with monkey puzzle trees and after she passed away I still kept going there.
“When I went there with my granddaughter it wasn’t there and I found out from the head gardener that it had been stolen.
“He said one day it was there and the next it was gone.”
Mr Gill added: “I hope the person who stole my late wife’s tree, which she had planted in the Joseph Weld gardens while she was a patient before she passed away, is happy with it.
“It must be a very low person, no doubt.”
Mr Gill said he did not know why his wife loved monkey puzzle trees so much but that his daughter Carol, of north Devon, and granddaughter Karen, who lives in Leicester, had both planted them in their gardens in Ruby’s honour.
Alison Ryan, chief executive of Weldmar Hospicecare Trust, said how shocked she was that someone had taken the tree.
She added: “Several of the trees planted in the grounds have very special memories for our patients’ families.”

(Reproduced from the Dorset Echo, 13th November)

GARDIEN TIP: It is possible to protect trees against theft by using a Rootball Anchor when planting. See

Thursday, November 12, 2009


POLICE are appealing for information after two bicycles - worth a combined £300 - were stolen from a garden shed to the rear of an address in Letham's Duncan Road.
The theft happened sometime between mid-day on Thursday, November 5, and 10 am on Friday, November 6.Taken was a black-coloured Scorpion Shock bike, which has pictures of scorpions all over it, and an older-style Scott-make bike, which is black and blue in colour and is fitted with a black seat that has a blue stripe running through it.Anyone with information that could lead to their recovery should call 0300 111 2222

(Reproduced from the Kirriemuir Herald, Nov 12th)

GARDIEN TIP: Bike theft is a huge problem throughout the UK. See our advice at

Can you believe Alvaston school has boat stolen from its garden?

STUDENTS and staff at a Derby school are upset and angry after an ornamental wooden boat was stolen from the school's sensory garden.
Faithful is one of two wooden rowing dinghies – the other one is Brave – made by pupils in the after-school boat club at Merrill College.
They had been donated to the gardening club to use as a feature earlier this summer.
The boats, both painted in gold and black, were placed on opposite sides of a rockery which was created by 12 students and four members of staff during activities week in July.
But thieves have stolen one of the boats, along with plants inside and around it.
Teacher Adey Greaves said: "There is no sign of the soil being tipped out, so it would have needed a van or trailer to take it away.
"Both staff and students in the school are angry and frustrated by the theft, which included some plants being taken as well."
The boat, which it is estimated could have taken up to four people to carry away, is likely to have been stolen on Monday evening, when the college gates were open later for evening activities. Mr Greaves said he was annoyed that the boat had been taken.
"Students and staff had worked hard for three days on a variety of tasks," he said.
"It annoys me that somebody could be so heartless as to destroy something that took so much time and effort and that was created by our students."
Pupil Mitchell King, 15, who was one of the students who helped on the project, said: "I am very unhappy and annoyed that one of our two flower boats has been stolen.
"It took a long time to get all of the flowering arrangements right and a lot of hard work and planning."
The theft has been reported to Derbyshire Police.
Anyone with any information should contact 0345 123 3333 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from the Derby Telegraph, Nov 12th 2009)

GARDIEN TIP: Nothing is safe from a determined thief unless you take steps to protect it. See our advice at

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Appeal following theft of Shetland ponies from Craghead, Durham

AN appeal has been made for the return of two much-loved miniature ponies following their theft from their stables.
The diminutive Shetlands, Piglet and Rosie, were taken in the second raid in a fortnight at the block, near the home of their owner, horse-lover Ivan Franklin and his wife Joan, in Bloemfontein, Craghead, County Durham.
Three other Shetlands were left untouched in the overnight theft, in Garden Terrace, at the weekend.
Mr Franklin's granddaughter, Stacey Alexander, discovered the theft as she was on her way to visit her grandparents on Saturday morning.
"I was driving past and saw the fence was pulled down at the front.
"The same thing happened a couple of weeks ago, and the fence was damaged then, so I knew what had happened.
"The last time, which was overnight on a Friday, a neighbour caught the thieves in the act and chased them, but they got away."
Miss Alexander said the handles were forced off the stable door and this time two of the ponies appear to have been taken, although three other Shetlands were untouched.
"The two that they got were my grandda's favourites.
"He's had ponies for 20 years now and loves looking after them. He's straight over on a morning to look after them and this has left him devastated."
She believes the ponies may have been targeted with a view to being sold with Christmas approaching.
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact Durham Police, on 0845-60-60-365.

(Reproduced from the Northern Echo, 11th November)

GARDIEN TIP: Stables are no different from any other outbuilding in terms of security. See our advice at

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mountain bike stolen from Honiton front garden

A MAN'S mountain bike was stolen from the front garden of an address in Streamers Meadow, Honiton, in the early hours of last Friday. PCSO Darren England is appealing for information about the bike's whereabouts. It is described as a mountain/BMX bike, made by Saracen and has a white seat and white writing on its frame. Anybody with information about the theft is urged to contact PCSO England on 08452 777444, quoting crime reference KH/09/1002.

(Reproduced from the Midweek Herald, Devon. November 09)

GARDIEN TIP: Valuablke bikes should be stored securely in a metal shed. See our range at

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bike stolen from Skegness garden

A BICYCLE was stolen from a garden in Church Road North, Skegness, overnight on Wednesday.
The purple and white bike is a women's Universal and has the word 'sussed' written on the frame. It has six gears and padded brakes. Police are keen to hear from anyone who believes they know the whereabouts of the bike, or have any information about the theft.
Information to: PC Andy Beard at Skegness Police Station, tel 01754 762222 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111

(Reproduced from the Skegness Standard, Nov 4th)

GARDIEN TIP: The figures nationally for bike theft are alarming - see our write-up on this at . We shall also shortly be providing on our web site an article on how to address bike security , so watch this space.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Green-Fingered UK Homemakers Spend £20,000 on Gardens

Green-fingered UK gardeners spend almost £20,0001on their gardens during their lifetime, with more than £5,000 of that figure spent on tools and garden items. Given this substantial investment, Post Office Home Insurance is recommending homeowners make sure they have appropriate home insurance in place to cover the costs of gardening equipment.
Although people throughout the UK invest significant sums in their gardens, Post Office Home Insurance warns that leaving valuable garden equipment on show could increase the risk of theft. Some proud homeowners may be underestimating how much garden items are worth , leaving themselves vulnerable by not having adequate home insurance in place.
Post Office Home Insurance suggests that homeowners take the time to ensure that their equipment is covered by home insurance policies. Keen gardeners or DIY enthusiasts should make sure the cost of their tools is provided for by their home contents insurance policy, particularly if these items are kept in a shed or likely to be left outdoors for extended periods. Post Office home contents insurance can cover equipment left in the open up to £1,000, and items stored in a shed or garage up to £2,000.
With the correct home insurance policy, anything from tools, barbecues and kids' toys could be covered, meaning homeowners can enjoy their gardens without worrying about equipment theft.

(Reproduced from Nov 1st)

GARDIEN TIP: Look at the free advice available at