Thursday, September 16, 2010

Prickly plants prevent crime

THIS weekend police in Moreton in Marsh will be visiting two garden centres in the area to talk to shoppers about how garden lighting, prickly plants, bushes and hedging can help keep homes secure.
On Saturday September 18 PC Caroline Paxford and PCSO Renee Morgan will be visiting the Fosseway Garden Centre and the Batsford Garden Centre offering advice about defensive gardening and home security.
In June Gloucestershire Constabulary launched their award-winning Defensive Gardening campaign for 2010. The campaign is supported by Crimestoppers and, following its inception in 2009, won a national award from Secured by Design which included a grant to fund the campaign, and more besides, this year.
PC Paxford said: “I think people would be very surprised to learn how effective the techniques the campaign advocates can be. I’d like to encourage people to come and visit us on Saturday, or any one of the garden centres and nurseries that are involved, to learn about these tips and many more.”
Some people are reluctant about certain home security purchases as they can be unattractive but an impenetrable hedge is just as effective as security fencing and looks far more attractive. Spiky shrubs around vulnerable windows can serve as a deterrent to those tempted to break in and small purchases from a garden centre such as shed alarms and dawn to dusk lights can go a long way to helping deter thieves.
In total 39 garden centres and nurseries across the county are supporting the 2010 campaign and visitors to these stores will be able to pick up a leaflet, produced by Crimestoppers, which give top tips to help beat the garden burglar and include a comprehensive list of prickly plants.
The officers will be at the Fosseway Garden Centre on the A429 from 10am until 1pm and at the Batsford Garden Centre on the A44 from 2pm to 5pm.
More information about the Defensive Gardening campaign, a comprehensive list of the types of prickly plants to purchase and a list of the Garden Centres involved can be found on the Gloucestershire Constabulary website.

(Reproduced from Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard, Sept 15th)

Gardien Tip: For comprehensive advice about garden security visit

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crime is sad sign of times for Rossendale grandad

AN ANGRY grandad has blasted thieves with a hand-painted sign in his front garden.
Peter Wareing, 61, of Helmshore Road, Helmshore, has put years of effort into his immaculate garden, with the help of his wife Carol, 65.
But when six multi-coloured solar lights went missing from his lawn, he decided to send a message to those responsible.
The sign, which can be seen by drivers and passers-by, reads: “May I wish the low life who stole from us a painful life.”
The couple, who have lived in Helmshore Road for 31 years, said the lights were stolen some time overnight, a week last Saturday.
Mr Wareing, an electrician and gas engineer, said: “It's not the lights, it's the principle of it.
“I’ve spent a lot of money on there and it’s just the pettiness to come in and take the lights.
“It's an invasion. They have come right up to my house.
“There was a statue with a light where my cat was buried, which means a lot to me, and they took that.
“I'm going to take the sign down now, because I think they have got the message.”
Mrs Wareing said thieves had previously stolen a 'please shut the gate' sign.
She added: “It must have been after dark. They stole six lights we put in, and two from next door's garden.
“They only cost about £20 for four, but somebody has come down into our garden, which we have put a lot of effort into, and taken them. It's sad.”
The couple's neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said she had been consoled by a member of the community.
She said: “It was upsetting, but I want to say thank you to a neighbour who came round afterwards with a bunch of flowers. I didn't even know the lady.”

(Reproduced from The Lancashire Telegraph, Sept 14th)

Gardien Tip: A cheap and effective method of discouraging petty theft is to use Property Marking stencils. See

Thursday, September 2, 2010

There’s no place like gnome

They've been mocked for being tacky and dated - and were even banned by the Chelsea Flower Show - but in an age where designer garden furniture, gazebos and high-power gas barbecues are all the rage, garden gnomes are making a serious comeback; thanks in part to a new army of trendy young fans.
It's hip ‘n' happening 18-24 year olds (16%) that now lead the way in the gnome ownership stakes, second only to over 55's (18%), according to data included in the MORE TH>N Garden Study, a comprehensive survey of the nation's gardening habits.
As well as detailing the average values of items in British gardens, the study reveals which are the most susceptible to theft too - a serious issue for the gnome-owning Brit.
As the designer gnome grows in popularity and more and more celebrities adopt them (Rio Ferdinand has his own bespoke collection), so ‘gnoming', the act of stealing gnomes, becomes more commonplace. Already over one in four (27%) gnome owners say they've had at least one of their ‘little people' stolen.
To highlight the problem, MORE TH>N has created the world's first electronically tagged gnome, aptly named ‘Chip', and donated it to the arguably the most famous ‘gnoming' victim in the UK.
In August 2008, Gloucestershire pensioner Eve Stuart-Kelso had her gnome, Murphy, stolen from her garden - only for the little fella to re-appear seven months later with a mysterious parcel from his captor. As well as a note in which Murphy explained how his impromptu world tour was down to ‘itchy feet', also attached was a leather bound photo-album containing 48 photographs, showing Murphy everywhere from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
An electronic tag should help keep Murphy and Chip safe, but the study from MORE TH>N shows how garden theft is far from restricted to the humble gnome. The figures reveal how nearly one third of us (28%) have experienced a theft from our back yards - with everything from barbies and patio heaters to plants and Koi carp being swiped by uninvited intruders.
And while we go to great lengths to protect the belongings within our homes, Brits are more than slack when it comes to garden security. For 15% of us, the best we can do is place items in an un-locked shed, though even more worryingly, 35% take no garden security measures whatsoever.
Other key findings from the study show that:
London is the garden theft capital of Britain with 34% of residents having had items stolen - the South East is the safest region where just 18% have experienced a theft;
No one spends more on garden luxuries than people in East Anglia - topping the average spend on both garden furniture (£359) and barbecues (£168); and
The South West is the gnome capital of the UK - 18% of gardens in the region are populated with gnomes.
MORE TH>N spokesperson Pete Markey comments, "In many ways gnomes are a British institution so it's great to see they're moving with the times and enjoying a resurgence. As the data shows though, ‘gnoming' is already a problem and it could become more prevalent if people don't start taking the issue of garden security more seriously. British gardens nowadays contain many valuable items and leaving them exposed is the outdoor equivalent of leaving the front door open, providing easy pickings for thieves."
To help prevent garden theft taking place, MORE TH>N recommends:
Keep your hedges tidy and trim as it reduces the number of places a thief can hide;
Lighting can be a good deterrent to thieves. The best to use is high-efficiency low-energy that comes on from dusk until dawn;
Fencing and gates can help prevent prowlers getting into the backs and sides of your home where they won't be seen by passers-by;
Consider gravel driveways as it's noisy to walk on, which will put intruders off;
Thorn bushes and prickly plants along the edge of the garden or fences can make an extra obstacle for thieves;
Make sure you have a lock on garden sheds, particularly if they contain garden tools and ladders as these could aid a burglar's entry to the property; and
Be vigilant in the neighbourhood, if you see someone acting suspiciously call the police.
For more details of the MORE TH>N Home Insurance offerings, visit

(Reproduced from Sept 2nd 2010)

Gardien Tip: All the advice you need and products to minimise risk can be found at

Break-ins in Rock (Kidderminster)

THREE break-ins took place over the weekend in Rock.
The first incident happened between 4pm on Thursday, August 26, and 11.45am on Friday, August 27 in Rock Cross, when several items of camping equipment worth more than £300 were taken from a storage unit. Items included a tent, airbed, stoves and chairs.
Then the second incident happened between 8pm on Thursday, August 26, and 10am on Saturday, August 28 when a garage in Rectory Lane was broken into and a Husqvarna Chainsaw worth £200 and a B&Q drill worth £60 were stolen. The third incident was also in Rectory Lane. It happened between 9pm on Friday, August 27, and 10am on Saturday, August 28. A shed was broken into and a chainsaw and generator were taken.
PC Steve Yapp said: “We would like to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area over the weekend or who may have been offered any items for sale similar to those stolen.”
Peter Aston, Kidderminster Police’s crime risk advisor, said: “We would remind shed owners that they should ensure they have sufficient security in place to prevent their belongings being stolen.
“Residents can improve the security of their sheds by fitting good quality locks to the shed door. The fittings should be bolted through the shed door and reinforced at the back with a steel plate. Any hasp should have concealed screws.
“For sheds that have exterior door hinges, replace existing screws with security screws which are designed so that they cannot be unscrewed once they are screwed in.
“Battery operated alarms may act as a deterrent or the house alarm could be upgraded to include the shed.
"A garden crime leaflet called ‘Tips to Nip Garden Crime in the Bud’ is available from police stations and garden centres in the West Mercia area or can be downloaded from the force's website,”
Anyone with information should call PC Yapp on 0300 333 3000 quoting incident no 0558-S-280810, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from the Kidderminster Shuttle, 2nd Sept 2010)

Gardien Tip: See the article re Shed Security at