Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nail down the garden furniture as thieves eye metal

Garden furniture, children’s play equipment, fridges and shopping trolleys are among unlikely items being stolen in Yorkshire as metal prices soar while the economy stutters.
The region’s police forces have set up specialist investigation teams after recording a sharp rise in metal thefts in recent months.
Railways have been a particularly common target for metal thieves, and figures released today reveal that crimes on the network in Yorkshire and the North East have risen by more than 73 per cent.
But as patrols of railways have increased, officers say criminals have turned their attention to homes and gardens where metal items are kept on display.
Inspector Jason Booth, who leads neighbourhood policing teams in the Mosborough and Woodhouse areas of Sheffield, said: “I am noticing a big increase in thefts we wouldn’t ordinarily see.
Garden furniture, barbecues, fridges, dishwashers and children’s trampolines are being stolen from gardens and these are staying under the radar because they are being classed as ‘other theft’, but they are all metal.
“It really frustrates me that people think they can just go on to somebody’s property and help themselves to it.”
West Yorkshire Police recorded more than 600 metal thefts in March alone. It said the total value of items reported stolen this year had already risen well above £1m.
Chief Superintendent Bill Hotchkiss, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “South Yorkshire has seen a 38 per cent increase in metal theft offences compared to the same period last year and this is a trend which is mirrored in our neighbouring forces and nationally.
“In January this year our figures were around 254 offences per month and they are now averaging around 450 offences.”
British Transport Police, which will target metal and cable thieves in a day of action today, said cases in Yorkshire and the North East rose by more than 73 per cent last year.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Pacey said the problem was “one of the biggest challenges we face”.
“It represents a direct attack on people and communities who rely on rail travel to go about their daily business,” he added.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “It is essential we get to grips with this problem because cable thefts are becoming more and more numerous and audacious – for example, gangs of thieves have even dressed up as official workers to get access to sites so they can steal cable and equipment.
“Stealing railway cable is selfish and dangerous.”
The trend has followed a sharp increase in metal prices internationally. The price of copper rose from a low of just below £3,000 per tonne in late 2008 to a peak of about £10,000 per tonne earlier this year.
The Yorkshire Post revealed in January that repairing buildings and replacing grate covers following raids by metal thieves had cost Yorkshire councils at least £2.3m in five years.
Police have worked with councils, fire crews, the Environment Agency, the Inland Revenue, utility companies and traders in an attempt to tackle the problem.
Operations in North Yorkshire have included ensuring all scrap metal dealers in Scarborough have a dedicated police officer with whom to liaise.
Similar campaigns have been organised by West Yorkshire Police and Humberside Police.

(Reproduced from The Yorkshire Post, 30th July 2011)

Gardien Tip: Put away all those things which can be safelystored and use relatively cheap alarms to protect higher value items. See

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Plants stolen in Falmouth hours before garden judges' visit

A THIEF who wrecked a floral display on Penmere Station in Falmouth just a day before judges for the town's garden competition were due to arrive has been condemned.
A large planter on the platform was stripped of every single marigold some time during Thursday night – but the theft was not discovered until Friday afternoon, leaving volunteers from the Friends of Penmere Station with only hours to replace the flowers before the judges appeared.

Janet Peacock, who with her husband David found the empty planter, said: "We just went up after lunch on Friday to pick up any litter and discovered it.
"They must have come prepared, as we searched everywhere for the plants thinking they'd been thrown away, but they were nowhere to be seen. They'd been dug up from the planter quite carefully and taken away.
"We did our best by re- jigging the plants and using whatever we had at our disposal to make the planter look good for the judges."
Steve Lloyd, honorary chairman of the Friends, said he was sure the plants were stolen.
"It wasn't children just throwing them around; they had been dug up and stolen," he said. "Someone had actually gone up to steal to order.
"It's not very nice to think that someone did that and took them away.
"I could understand it more if it was kids just throwing them around. Stealing is much worse than vandalism.
"I do feel a bit bitter knowing they've been stolen by an adult. So many people use the station and there are trains every half-hour so they must have gone up there some time between the last train on Thursday and the first one on Friday.
"It's so sad, because the planter did look fantastic."
Mr and Mrs Peacock worked wonders, however, and had the planter redesigned when the judges arrived on Saturday.
"It did look OK for the judges and we're still waiting to hear how we did in the competition," said Mr Lloyd.
With the judging over, Mr and Mrs Peacock decided to find new plants to replace the stolen marigolds, and while travelling on a bus were offered a supply by a man who lives near the station.
The Friends of Penmere Station have been tending to the platform and gardens for 18 years and during that time have won several awards for their efforts.

(Reproduced from ThisIsCornwall, 28th July 2011)

Gardien Tip:  The only real answer here is CCTV but we appreciate that it is impossible to cover every square metre of every place in town. Sadly, nothing surprises any more.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Suspected stolen garden items on display in Morecambe

POLICE are offering victims the chance to reclaim their stolen property from an 'Aladdin's Cave' of items recovered during a raid. The statues, ornaments, plant pots, plinths, benches and other garden items were seized following the execution of a theft warrant at Mellishaw caravan park in Morecambe last week.
The operation was carried out following an investigation into the theft of a golden boy statue, which has since been returned to its owner.
Officers have now released photos of items confiscated during the raid in the hope that they may be recognised by those who rightfully own them.
PC Ben Hanley, Lancaster Police, said: "If someone recognises an item that they believe to be theirs then they should get in touch with us and we will seek proof that it is theirs before it is returned.
"It is a good idea for people who have valuable items in their gardens to take photos of them and also mark them with their postcode so if they are unfortunately stolen but then recovered, officers have a way of finding out who owns them."
If you recognise an item contact PC Hanley on 0845 15 25 35 45.

Follow the link below to view the items:

(Reproduced from the Westmorland Gazette, 18th July 2011)

Gardien Tip: A welcome change to see goods being returned. Property marking enables rapid return of stolen items to their rightful owners. See

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dales summer crime crackdown

PEOPLE are being asked to support a campaign against summer crime designed to maintain the Derbyshire Dales’ status as one of the safest places in England.

Operation Rascal is being promoted by the Safer Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership with the aim of keeping burglaries at the current low rate.
The partnership, which includes Derbyshire Dales District Council, the police and the county council, is helping prevent summer shed burglaries by selling discounted shed alarms at just £4 a time at police stations throughout the Dales.
Insp. Bryan Hall, who is in charge of policing in the Derbyshire Dales, said: “In the summer months wooden sheds can become a target for thieves and we want local people to help themselves to protect expensive items such as mountain bikes, motorbikes, golf clubs, DIY power tools, lawn mowers and other garden equipment.
“The shed alarms made available as part of Operation Rascal are a great deterrent. They usually retail at around £8 but we are selling them for just £4 thanks to a generous subsidy by the district partnership.”
Dales resident Alison Young said she was glad she fitted a shed alarm at her home in Matlock. “A few weeks ago someone started to prise open the shed door but obviously noticed the alarm and gave up,” she said.
“The discounted alarms are a great idea and I’d recommend other people taking advantage of the £4 discounted cost. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.”
Meanwhile, police report that an alarm was a deterrent when thieves targeted a shed in Green Lane, Ashbourne, on 5 July. A resident was woken up in the early hours by the shed alarm and after checking the garden noticed the lock on the shed had been tampered with.
Police believe the noise from the alarm and a security light in the garden disturbed the offender, who left empty handed.
Derbyshire Dales District Council Leader Councillor Lewis Rose OBE, who is also Chairman of the Safer Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership said: “The Derbyshire Dales is among the safest places in England. In fact, Government figures continue to show that only the Isles of Scilly have a lower burglary rate, but we cannot afford to be complacent.
“This excellent campaign is the latest in a series of partnership initiatives that helps maintain the Derbyshire Dales as one of the safest places to live, work and visit in the whole of the UK.”
Also available at Enquiry Offices are door chimes at just £1 a time. In addition to fitting a shed alarm, local people are urged to keep their sheds safe by following these simple suggestions:

• Protect the boundary and access of your garden with fences, walls and lockable gates.
• Locate your shed in your garden so you can clearly see the door and window of the shed from your house.
• Use a good quality padlock/hasp or mortice lock on the door. If using a hasp, ensure the screws are covered and cannot be accessed by a screw driver.
• Ensure the hinges cannot be easily removed.
• Make sure the doors and panels of the shed are strong enough not to be kicked in or forced.
• Cover the windows and fit Perspex or laminated glass which will offer good protection.
• Cover the shed with a security light.
• Use a ground or wall anchor to secure your bike or other valuables in the shed.
• Lock valuables together to prevent them being easily removed.
• Visibly and permanently mark your property. It helps identify it as yours and is less desirable for a thief.

(Reproduced from Bakewell Today, 5th July)

Gardien Tip: The above is excellent advice, which is supported with further advice and quality security products at  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Garden theft rise - police warning

Wetherby’s police chief is urging people to be extra vigilant over possessions being left in gardens over the summer, after an increase in garden thefts.

More than 32 incidents have been reported over the last two months leading Inspector Marcus Griffiths to urge householders to make sure their belongings are secure.
“I would encourage people who leave things in their garden such as garden furniture and barbecue equipment or anything valuable to store them away and make sure that it is not in view,” Insp Griffiths said.
“We have seen an increase in thefts from gardens recently and we encourage everyone to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
“We would ask members of the public to ask and question people if they are not aware of any building work in the area.”
The appeal follows a number of incidents at the weekend when three bikes were stolen from the front garden of a house on Taylor Lane, Barwick-in-Elmet between 9 and 9.30pm last Friday.
One of the bikes was later found dumped nearby, however two are still missing.
The two missing bikes are described as mountain bikes, one black and one pink and white.

(Reproduced from Wetherby News, 4th July 2011)

Gardien Tip:  Plenty of free advice and products to help minimise garden crime are to be found at