Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crime stricken allotment holders fight back

They will be featured on Crimewatch's roadshow programme in an effort to halt the vandalism at their plots in Lincoln

Vandalism at allotments in Lincoln has become so bad that the BBC's Crimewatch Roadshow programme has been mobilised in to help.
A spate of incidents at the Boultham allotments in Lincoln has led to the crime-fighting programme filming there, the Lincolnshire Echo reports.
In the latest attacks in February, windows were smashed and human waste left inside the tea room. Vandals urinated in water bottles.
Allotment holders were upset by the damage and have since been in talks with the the local authority in Lincoln to improve security.
Now, Crimewatch UK's roadshow is joining the cause to highlight the issue and will be filming in the area in the next couple of months. Presenters Rav Wilding and Ginny Buckley will host a series of live morning shows in June and July, including the allotments.
Lincolnshire Police spokesman James Newall told the Echo: "We are working with the Crimewatch Roadshow, which will be filming in the next month or so, to put together a number of packages that will go into their daytime programme.
"It's different to the evening show in the sense they do not focus on serious crime. It's more about day-to-day issues and things that affect our community."
He said the issues with the allotments is "a prime example of how low-level crime can really affect people's lives."
The allotments have been the target of vandalism over the last year, and people who spend hours tending their patches have had their windows smashed, sheds damaged and panes of glass in greenhouses broken.
Councillor Alister Williams, county council member for Lincoln North, hopes the Crimewatch team's visit to the site, off Boultham Park Road in Lincoln, will complement his education initiatives with young people.
He said: "The allotment-holders feel that certain generations misunderstand allotments and, when they get bored, they go and trash things. Some of the things the offenders did were disgusting and that goes beyond boredom to vandalism.
"One of the things we want to do is work with the schools so the allotment-holders can explain themselves to young people so they understand that the allotments are an extension of people's homes.
"People down there were devastated when it happened and the last time it was just awful."
Fred Hyde, who has had an allotment at the site for six years, said: "It's about trying to educate people. Trashing an allotment and our tea room has an effect on us all. They left glass in the fruit and the sugar we use for making tea, and they urinated in our water bottles.
"It's not just an allotment, it's a community. The world is not a very good place at times, but when you come down to the allotments, all the bad stuff is left outside." He said he hopes Crimewatch will get the message across.

(Reproduced from 26th April 2011)

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Town gardener helps highlight police campaign (Droitwich)

A DROITWICH gardener is supporting a West Mercia Police campaign to help reduce garden crime as the weather ‘hots’ up. Malley Terry, who annually opens her Droitwich garden to the public, welcomed South Worcestershire’s crime reduction manager, Mike Stephenson, and Sgt Dave Knight to her beautiful display in Alexander Avenue as they begin to raise awareness of steps people can take to protect their gardens, sheds and allotments.
Mike Stephenson said: “Although many people take steps to protect their homes and the property inside them, valuable equipment is often left in unsecured sheds, providing easy pickings for opportunist thieves.
“Expensive items such as power tools, mowers, garden tools, bicycles and golf clubs should not be stored in sheds. If possible, store them in your house or garage.
“Easy, simple, steps can be taken by everyone to help reduce garden crime and keep their belongings safe throughout the year.
“People love beautiful gardens, people flock to Mrs Terry’s garden every year, but thieves love insecure gardens and we need to work together to keep garden crime low and our gardens places we can relax safely throughout the summer.”
Around 1500 shed burglaries take place every year within West Mercia. In addition, garden equipment that has not been secured properly or has been left out could be used to break into a house.
More information on garden and shed security can be found on the force website at

(Reproduced from Droitwich Spa Advertiser  21st April)
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Nip Garden Crime in the Bud! - Crime Prevention

West Mercia Police is urging green-fingered residents to help the force ‘weed out’ garden crime by reviewing and improving their garden, shed and allotment security.
Although many people take steps to protect their homes and the property inside them, they leave valuable equipment in gardens and unsecured sheds, providing easy pickings for opportunist thieves. Around 1500 shed burglaries take place every year within West Mercia, which highlights the importance of storing valuable items securely.
Top tips for a safer garden:

• Gates, fences and walls should be kept in good repair

• Grow prickly plants close to windows, fences, boundary walls and drainpipes

• Don’t leave expensive equipment like garden tools, mowers, mountain bikes and power tools in the shed

• If you have nowhere else to store valuable equipment, take measures to secure your shed

• Don’t leave ladders and tools lying around in your garden – these could be used to break into your home

• Mark your garden tools and equipment with your postcode.

For more garden, shed and allotment security advice, contact your local policing team on 0300 333 3000.

Alternatively, visit the force website ( where you can also download a copy of the force’s ‘Stop – all valuables have been removed’ poster to display on your shed. Don’t forget to remove any valuables first though!

(Reproduced from Loggerheads Community Information Shop, 25th April 2011)

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Thornbury police tackle rural crime

POLICE have been out in and around Thornbury to help tackle rural crime. On Monday, April 18 members of the Thornbury Neighbourhood Policing Team held a day of action, due to the recent thefts of agricultural equipment, quad bikes, garden machinery and scrap metal.
During the day the team, led by Acting Police Sargent (APS) Neil Whyman, stopped vehicles that fitted the profile of vehicles used in offences or vehicles from locations which have been targeted by thieves.
As part of the operation officers used an Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera and screened 2,897 vehicles, and of that number 68 vehicles were stopped for routine checks, crime prevention advice and vehicle defects.
All motorists were given a leaflet asking them to mark their property with their postcode to deter criminals and to register it at APS Whyman said: "This was a successful operation, with many motorists expressing how pleased they were to be stopped and that this was very welcome.
"One motorist stopped had just replaced equipment after being stolen in another area, they expressed how good it was to see the police being pro-active, they also stated that they would register with Immobilise."

(Reproduced from the Gazette, April 20th)

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Neighbourhood Alert - Pots and Plants Theft Warning

Summer is approaching along with the usual crime trends that accompany it. Over the past week or so, we have noticed a sizeable increase in the theft of large pot plants and hanging baskets from private houses throughout Essex. Where the thieves have been seen, it is reported that they simply pull up outside the house in a Transit style vehicle, two men walk into the garden then lift the pot into the vehicle and drive off. It's all over in a few seconds. The thieves seem to be targeting large pot plants (some of the ones stolen are valued at over £200 each), garden ornaments and mature hanging baskets. Almost without exception the thefts have occurred from FRONT gardens.
There are very few ways by which you can secure a large terracotta pot to the floor and if you chain hanging baskets to their brackets, past offences have shown that the thieves may simply pull the brackets from the wall causing more damage.
The best advice we can give is not to display such items where passing thieves will be able to see them from the highway. If you have valuable pots and hanging baskets display them in the BACK garden; at least over the summer period.
The thieves know that there is big money to be made in stolen pot plants, hanging baskets, garden furniture, lawnmowers and other gardening equipment at this time of the year. We appreciate these items are difficult to secure but at the very least, don't make it easy for them.
And, whilst talking about the vulnerability of our front gardens, here are some more thoughts from me: "Personally speaking, as I travel around Brentwood, Epping Forest and Harlow districts, I often notice bicycles, children's scooters and ride-on toys left insecure and strewn around front gardens or lying against fences, walls and hedges, often on the public side of garden boundaries (footpaths etc). As both a parent and grandparent, I know how expensive some of these items are to buy, which is why I recommend that we all remember to take appropriate steps to ensure that these items don't become easy pickings for thieves!"

My final thought is that it is far easier to take precautions against theft than to comfort and pacify a distraught child who has lost his or her favourite possession!
Let's hope that we are going to enjoy a sunny stress free Easter and Summer this year!

Colin I. Freeman

Essex Watch Administrator - Western Division

(Reproduced from  13th April)

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Crime rises with the temperature

POLICE are warning residents to lock doors while they are out in their gardens. Officers are warning sneak-in burglaries increase when the weather gets warmer and people spend more time in their gardens.
Thieves prowl residential areas looking for opportunities where people have left windows and doors open.
The warning comes after a burglary in Cotswold Close, North Hykeham, on Saturday.
While the occupants were in the back garden a thief sneaked in through an unlocked back door.
An Acer laptop and a purse containing about £50 and bank cards were stolen.
Lincolnshire Police are urging residents to take care and make sure homes are secure while they are out in yards and gardens.

The advice is simple – to make sure doors and windows are locked.
Anyone with information on the incident should call Lincolnshire Police on 0300 1110300.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Reproduced from  April 12th)

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Bird thefts probed after spate of crimes across Sheerness

A pensioner is counting the cost of being hit three times in ten weeks by a bird-napping crimewave sweeping Sheerness. Edwin Cross, 66, says he has had 100 birds, worth thousands of pounds, swiped from the aviaries in his back garden in Alexandra Street.
Remarkably it is only the tip of the iceberg, with police saying more than 120 birds have been stolen in six different raids across the town in recent weeks.
Now police are urging bird keepers to be extra vigilant against those looking to feather their nest with their ill-gotten gains.
The first theft took place on Friday, January 21, when a large quantity of red factor canaries and diamond doves were taken.
The same aviary was targeted on February 18, with zebra finches among others being taken. More recently on March 19, it was broken into again with 60-70 budgies taken.
Mr Cross said: "I have four big aviaries in the back garden and they caused a bit of damage to them and they left them open, so the birds that they didn’t take were left to escape.
"It has cost me a lot of money in the long run, about £2,000 with the amount of birds being pinched.
"I’ve still going to have birds and had them replaced.
"I’ve got alarmed locks on the aviaries now and they are very noisy. All you have to do is touch them and they go off.
"I have had birds for years. I am 66 and retired now and they are my hobby. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke – they’re all I’ve got.
"I love everything about them and something like this has given me a bit of a knock."
Among the other crimes 30 canaries were pinched from an aviary in Maple Street on March 18. Six days later a different aviary was hit with a further seven canaries taken.
And on March 21, the bird-brain thieves targeted a chicken run in Maple Street, stealing two cockerels and a hen.
DC Gary Seamark of the island’s crime investigation team, said: "I would warn bird owners to be vigilant at this time and to secure their aviaries wherever possible.
"They can also invest in additional security measures such as sensor lighting or CCTV, which may deter these offenders, who are predominantly acting in the hours of darkness.
"I would also appeal for information about any of the crimes which have taken place, as where animals are concerned it can be very distressing for their owners to lose them.
"I would appeal to the conscience of those involved to come forward."
Anyone with information should contact police on 01795 584111 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

(Reproduced from Kent News 31st March 2011)

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