Thursday, February 24, 2011

Engineer Major Ian Webster is victim of crime after fighting for country

Days after returning from frontline duty in Afghanistan a Royal Engineer hero has had specialist bikes worth nearly £10,000 stolen from his garden.
Major Ian Webster came back from his tour last week after serving overseas with the Territorial Army for six months.
The 54-year-old who lives in The Street, Boughton, had taken his wife for a romantic overnight trip to London on Valentine's Day.
When the couple returned, however, they discovered thieves had cut through a padlock and stolen three mountain bikes used by Major Webster for triathlons and racing.
The father-of-two and grandfather-of-one, who has represented Great Britain in triathlon world championships, had spent a lot of time and money lovingly restoring the bikes.
It is thought the criminals who nabbed the precious equipment knew what they were looking for as they took the three most expensive bikes kept in the lock-up and left two others.
Major Webster has now been forced to postpone his training and preparation for June's Escape from Alcatraz event in San Francisco, which sees 2,000 of the world's best athletes descend on the city to battle it out in the infamous and extreme sporting event.
Having been a member of the TA for more than 35 years, Major Webster is a highly skilled engineer and has worked in some of the most deadly regions of Afghanistan, including Kandahar and Lashkar Gah.
He said: "It is annoying to say the least and to say I'm angry would be an understatement.
"After spending so long in such an inhospitable and potentially dangerous place away from my family and friends I was really looking forward to getting back and being able to head out and train.
"I feel helpless and there is nothing I can do. I'm still in utter disbelief at what has happened.
"It is unbelievable and not what I was expecting on my return. It is sickening."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Kent Police on 01795 433020.

(Reproduced from  24th Feb )

Gardien Tip: It is vital that items of any significant value are stored securely. See our article on Bike Security at

Monday, February 21, 2011

Garden Tool Theft Is Rising: What Can You Do About It?

by Lyndon Ogden

Tool theft is on the rise at the same time as gardening has been rising in popularity, the recession has bitten hard and more people have decided to grow their own produce to money. At the same time that obviously means that people invest in sometimes very pricey tools usually with little security protecting them. No prises for guessing what that's led to an increase in a rise to then, yep, that's right, Tool Theft is on the rise, what can you do about it?

So lets imagine you've spent a good couple of hundred on all the tools to get your new garden off to a flying start so it can start producing you the home grown food you desire, but you're just leaving your tools inside that old rickety shed of yours leaves them open to theft from anybody who feels like it.

When a thief breaks into your shed, he'll either sell the tools on the after market, or he'll use them to break into your home and steal your most valuable possesions which are likely going to cost much more than the a trip down to the local hardware store. That's why I recommend metal garden sheds as an alternative to wood, they're tough, waterproof and exceedingly hard to break into without doing serious damage to yourself. Not to mention the amount of money you'll save due to it's long lasting nature, they won't be worn down by the everyday elements like wooden sheds, meaning your tools and lifestyle is safe.

Lyndon Ogden is a writer on a number of subjects including Metal Garden Sheds. His latest project is based around Garden Sheds, and Metal Garden Sheds generally.

Article Source:

Gardien Tip: All the above is sound advice. You can also read our own article on Shed Security at

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lock away the garden tools, warn the police

POLICE in Bury are warning residents not to leave garden tools outside for burglars to use to break into their homes.
The advice comes after implements were used in several incidents to force open windows and doors.
Neighbourhood officers across Bury will be increasing patrols in “hotspot” areas to continue to target offenders.
But residents are being urged to reduce the chances of them becoming a victim of crime by following simple advice.
Supt Mark Granby said: “It might sound obvious, but by locking garden tools away so they are secure and out of sight provides one less chance for thieves trying to break into homes.
“Burglars are continually looking for the easiest way to commit crime. Burglary can have a terrible impact on the victim when their home has been invaded. These simple actions can help to prevent this crime from happening.”
Victim Support is an independent charity that provides practical and emotional support for people affected by crime.
To speak to an adviser: call the Victim Supportline on 0845 30 30 900 or visit The service is confidential and free of charge.

(Reproduced from the Bury Times, 17th Feb)

Gardien Tip:  Too many garden sheds are also very easy to break into to obtain garden tools so make sure your shed is as secure as possible. See our advice on shed security at

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Increase in Garden Crime seen

The mailbox at Gardeners’ World magazine is brimming with letters and emails from gardeners who have been victims of theft. From these letters alone, it would seem that thefts from gardens and allotments are becoming more widespread, while gratuitous vandalism on allotments remains horribly common. Thefts range from handfuls of fresh fruit and veg to expensive garden tools, while whole sheds are reported to have been torn down and burned for ‘fun’. As gardens and allotments are quieter now than they are than in summer, they may be more at risk of falling prey to opportunistic thieves and vandals.

My first allotment was robbed in winter. Nothing expensive was taken (there wasn’t anything expensive to take), but my plastic, walk-in greenhouse vanished overnight, leaving my poor orange tree to fend for itself in sub-zero temperatures (it survived, but hasn’t flowered in the four years since). A cold frame, some lovely wooden seed trays and a hose pipe were also stolen, no doubt to be sold on for pennies at the nearest car boot sale. I was devastated at the time, but quickly accepted it as an inevitable part of allotment life.

Garden theft isn’t just perpetrated by lone opportunists. Gardening is big business, and so is ‘organised’ garden crime. Rare plants, garden gnomes, stone ornaments, expensive bonsais and even whole ponds, hedges and fences are just some of the items regularly reported as stolen. A friend of mine had one of two box cones stolen from outside her front door. Apart from ruining the symmetry of her front door display, the theft made her question whether or not she would replace it, knowing she would have to invest in ugly chains to secure it to the house.

In my heart, my garden is an extension of my house (in lots of ways it means more to me than the bricks and mortar), but I don’t secure it in the same way. It wouldn’t take much for someone to hop over the back gate, force open the shed and remove its contents. Again, there’s nothing expensive inside, but it’s all useful and is somehow part of the emotional attachment I have with my garden.

So, apart from investing in heavy duty locks and lobbying allotment committees to improve security measures, what can we do? Growing prickly hedges such as barberry along our boundaries will prevent most burglars from climbing, or hiding within, while creating noisy gravel paths will also deter them from entering. Shed windows can be covered with a curtain or blind to shield items from view.

Has your garden or allotment been targeted by thieves or vandals? What steps did you take to prevent it happening again?

(Reproduced from Garden Nursery, Online Garden Centre,  8th Feb )

Gardien Tip:  The shed is the number one target - see our article on Shed Security at

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rural crime on policing radar

GARDEN machinery and tools are amongst the prime targets of criminals working the rural Winchester district, police have warned. It comes after several burglaries in recent weeks, including a ram raid where thieves made off with a batch of chainsaws.
But officers feel they are now better placed to track the thieves, thanks to a growing network of farmers and other rural workers.
The district’s Countrywatch officer, PC Jon Radcliffe, has been instrumental in setting it up, and hundreds of people have joined the system.
Thanks to email and text messages, PC Radcliffe can instantly pass details of any suspicious activity to scheme members.
In turn, they provide similar information to him, and police have made several arrests in recent weeks. It includes some suspected poachers in Bramdean and West Meon.
However, officers are still hunting the criminals behind several rural burglaries in the past few weeks.
It includes a ram raid at Winchester Garden Machinery in Romsey Road, Winchester, in late December.
A batch of chainsaws was taken and police are checking if there are links to another burglary in Curdridge soon after.
It took place late at night on Wednesday, January 5 at Woodmans Farm in Curdridge Lane.
Thieves used bolt cutters to force open several locked business units and made off with tools, machinery and even vehicles.
It included an Iveco tipper truck owned by Bespoke Landscapes worth £5,000. The firm also lost £22,000 of other equipment.
They were not alone as several of their neighbours had property stolen, some of which was uninsured.
Because most of the firms were small, some had to close temporarily and cancel jobs until they could replace their machinery.
Other rural crimes include two attempted thefts from garages in Martins Fields, Compton last month.
PC Radcliffe: “What I would say is keep an eye on all sheds and outbuildings, keep them locked, and mark and postcode your property.”
He added: “What we are seeing is more people are prepared to report this kind of activity because the process is much better, so reporting is definitely on the up.”
Anyone with information on rural crime can contact PC Radcliffe at Bishop’s Waltham police station on 0845 045 4545.

(Reproduced from the Hampshire Chronicle, 4th Feb)

Gardien Tip: You can minimise the risk to your sheds and outbuildings by taking some basic precautions - see our article on Shed Security at