Sunday, April 29, 2012

Landlord Paul McMullan shocked by 'brazen' theft of pub furniture

MYSTERY surrounds the disappearance of an outside dining table and chair set which vanished from a popular Dover pub.
Revellers were left shocked by the sudden disappearance of the brown garden furniture from outside The Castle Inn on Russell Street.
Castle Inn landlord Paul McMullan was shocked to find his outdoor furniture stolen from his Dover pub
Punters were outside enjoying the sunshine when a 20 minute downpour forced them to retreat inside with their pints.
But when one drinker nipped outside for a cigarette when the rain had gone, he was amazed to find the £600 dining set missing.
Landlord Paul McMullan, 45, told the Express: "I thought I was going mad, one minute the usual street furniture was there arranged nicely right outside and the next it had gone.
"It is not as it was light – the teak chairs were really heavy, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
"I was just dumbstruck."
The Castle Inn now has no outside furniture for punters to relax on and Mr McMullan has called the disappearance last Wednesday as "one of the most brazen thefts ever reported in Dover".
Both he and a group of customers scoured the surrounding area for the table and chairs but failed to locate them.
To add insult to injury, Mr McMullan, a former tabloid journalist, only recently paid Dover District Council £200 for a license to have street furniture outside his business.
He added: "I have the right to have outside furniture but I don't have any to put out there.
"The rain literally lasted 20 minutes and in that time someone has pinched my tables and chairs.
"It's unbelievable.
"It couldn't have been one person – the furniture is really heavy."
Mr McMullan has contacted the police about the theft and is urging anyone with information about the incident to get in touch with the police.
The stolen items include a bench, three teak, slated folding chairs and two tables for visitors to enjoy a pint outside in the sunshine.
Mr McMullan can be contacted on 01304 202108

(Reproduced from ThisIsKent,  28th April)
Gardien Comment: Sadly most pubs find it necessary to cable together outside furniture and also perhaps use a ground anchor to tie down a main piece. Property marking will also help to deter theft and/or ease recovery - see

Friday, April 27, 2012

Police appeal over stolen garden equipment

A NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested on suspicion of theft after police recovered a number of garden items thought to have been stolen from the Minchinhampton area.
A number of the items recovered, including a child’s play house and a wooden bird table, have been identified as having been stolen from Minchinhampton Primary School over the Easter period, but police are still trying to identify the owners of a number of other pieces of property.
Officers would like to hear from anyone who believes they may have had any of the following items stolen:
• A wooden see-saw with a bright pink base.
• A large wooden picnic table.
• A wheeled hosepipe coil.
• Three green round plastic garden foliage bags and mounting chairs.
• A green metal ‘Public Footpath’ sign.
• A ‘disabled parking’ sign.
Anyone who can identify the items is asked to contact PC Dave Wood by calling Gloucestershire police on 101, quoting incident number 110 of April 17.
The suspect, who is from the area, has been released on bail until May 20
(Reproduced from Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard, April 26th)
Gardien Comment: Property marking with SelectaDNA will greatly increase the chance os stolen items being returned to their rightful owner. See

Dismay over tub theft

Toddlers at Shepton Mallet's Paul Street Community Centre have been left heartbroken by the theft of a tub of spring flowers they had lovingly planted and were eagerly watching grow.
The tub was one of a group the children and staff had planted up with help from Dobbies Garden Centre community champion Mark Gibbons who donated the bulbs.
Maureen Shearn who runs the Paul Street Community Centre with her husband Neil said they were all dismayed when they discovered the theft of one of the tubs.
"We would appeal to whoever did this to return it.
"During their Tuesday morning play session at the Centre, the Toddler Group planted these tubs with bulbs, kindly donated by Dobbies Garden Centre, to make an attractive Spring floral display.
"They looked really beautiful. There were stones in the tub, plus it had been well watered – so it must have been very heavy for whoever who took it away. We would just like it back," said Mrs Shearn.
"The same thing happened last year too – but someone decided to bring it back a week later.
"I don't know who it was but it suddenly reappeared – hopefully this one will too."

(Reproduced from Shepton Mallett Journal, 27th April)
Gardien Comment: It's not only the value of any stolen item - it's the effect it has on those who suffer the loss.  Whatever precautions can be taken, should be taken to minimise loss. Lots of free advice at

Raising awareness of shed crime (Somerset)

Police held a day of action across the area last week to raise public awareness about the rise in thefts from outbuildings, sheds and garages at this time of year.
Uniformed officers carried out extra patrols in rural locations, visiting farms and villages to identify vulnerable outbuildings and sheds and offer crime prevention and security advice to residents.
Officers also visited garden centres in the area – including Dobbies at Shepton Mallet – offering advice and information to members of the public on shed and outbuilding security.
People could buy alarms, suitable for sheds, garages, outbuildings, caravans and personal property, as well as UV marker pens to mark property.
Mendip crime reduction officer Yvonne Mears said: "The value of property stored in sheds and outbuildings is often much greater than householders think.
"The average contents of a garden shed are worth £1,000 but, despite this, security is often overlooked with more than half of garden sheds and garages not locked or adequately secured.
"We wanted to use this day to raise awareness and provide advice on additional security measures householders can take."

(Reproduced from Shepton Mallett Journal, 26th April)
Gardien Comment:  See the article on Shed Security at

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crime prevention advice in town

PCSO Nigel Wass and PC Nic Hanson will be in various places around Horncastle with the mobile police station, offering advice on topics such as home and garden security.
From 9am until 12pm, they will be in Tesco car park then, from 12.30pm to 2pm, they will be at the allotments off Boston Road. Finally, they will end the day, from 2pm until 4pm, at the garden area in Jobson Road.
The following day, on May 1, they will be up at Crowders Garden Centre all day from 10am until 4pm
(Reproduced from Horncastle News, 25th April)
Gardien Comment: More and more of these garden security sessions are taking place, which is good news. Further advice and quality security products can be found at

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Garden stags theft from Riddings

Two cast iron stags were stolen from a house on West Street sometime between 8.30pm on Tuesday, April 10 and 8.40am on Wednesday, April 11.
PC Brooks from Alfreton police said: “The ornaments are very distinctive, one is 4ft tall and the other is 5ft. They are made from cast iron and would have been very heavy to carry and a vehicle would have been required to transport them.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Brooks on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
(Reproduced from Ripley and Heanor News  24th April 2012)
Gardien Comment: Sadly these two statues will quite likely have been sold for scrap or melted down by now. To  minimise the risk of losiong such items see the advice at

Monday, April 23, 2012

Warning after Nayland boat theft


BOAT owners in Nayland have warned others after a dinghy was stolen from their garden.

John and Jill Parsonson, of Bear Street, had their white eight foot clinker taken over the Easter bank holiday.
Mrs Parsonson, 70, said: “Quite a few of us with houses along the river have little boats and we wanted to warn others they may be targeted.
“You would like to think the bottom of your garden is safe, but perhaps not.
“We are wondering if anyone had seen one for sale somewhere and could report it to the police.
“The worst thing is the boat is not truly ours, it is on permanent loan from some friends.
“We just can’t believe someone has taken it from our house.”
It is thought the boat, worth between £400-500 was stolen last Monday (April 9) evening.
It is not known whether the boat was transported away by road or river.
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Green at Suffolk Police on 01473 782635.
(Reproduced from The Daily Gazette (Essex) 23rd April)
Gardien Comment: No-one can assume that an item is too large or heavy to be stolen and anything of value should have some protection from possible theft. See the advice at

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bronze statue with ‘sentimental value’ stolen from village garden

A BRONZE statue was stolen from outside a house in Codicote

Stolen statue
The theft took place at a house in Hitchin Road between midnight on Monday and 9am on Tuesday.
The statue is a bronze cast statue of children playing on a seesaw.
Pc Keith Harding from the North Herts Safer Neighbourhoods team: “This is a very distinctive statue which has sentimental value for the owner.
“I would urge anyone who may have been in the area and seen anything suspicious in Hitchin Road, Codicote, or who may have any information at all in relation to this incident, to get in touch.”
• Anyone with information should contact Pc Harding on 101 quoting crime reference number G1/12/897.
(Reproduced from Welwyn Hatfield Times 20th April)
Gardien Comment: See the advice on Garden Antiques and Statuary at

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hessle Road bid to end seasonal spike in shed crime

FAMILIES living in and around Hessle Road are being invited to a meeting aimed at reducing a seasonal spike in garden crime.
Humberside Police's West neighbourhood policing team will host the event at the Gypsyville multi-purpose centre this weekend.
It comes after it was revealed in the Mail's latest Crime Scene feature how officers were preparing for a jump in break-ins of sheds and garages.
Inspector Duncan Collins, the area commander of neighbourhood policing, told the Mail that break-ins tended to rise as the weather gets better.
He said: "As we said, through the coming months we have seen in previous years an increase in the number of sheds and garages that are broken into.
"This is generally because people are out and about more in their gardens and tend to leave expensive equipment out.
"We will be running a series of events to help people help themselves.
"The meetings are an opportunity for people to come and get an idea of what we can do to help and to get advice about helping to prevent crime."
The meeting is for people living within the beat area of the West team, which covers thousands of homes and businesses from the A63 and Priory Way, across Hessle Road, picking up parts of Boothferry Road, Anlaby Road and the estates of Gipsyville and Boothferry.
The meeting is a chance for people living in the area to discuss any policing issues they may have and have their cycles marked free of charge and registered on www. and arrange home security checks.
Those who have their cycles marked will be issued a cycle passport that contains details of the cycle marking and its registration.
Insp Collins said: "By marking the cycle and registering it online, we can identify a recovered stolen cycle more effectively.
"This means we can return them to their owners and it assists in the prosecution of thieves."
The meeting takes places from 10am to 11.30am on Saturday.
Insp Collins said: "We want people to come along and have a chat about how we can help."
To report a crime in progress, call 999, or for other less urgent matters or to report suspicious activity, call Humberside Police's non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, call Crime- stoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
(Reproduced from 19th April)
Gardien Comment:  More of these events would lead to a significant reduction in Shed Crime. For further advice see

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Police warning on garden crime

A spokeswoman said, “The theft of Power tools, mowers, garden tools, mountain bikes and golf clubs are just some examples of expensive equipment being stolen by opportunist thieves from insecure sheds. Crimes of this nature can be prevented by effective garden security from boundary fences and gates to the valuables stored inside your shed. Here are tips to find out how you can ‘weed out’ the garden thieves.
Well positioned external lighting is a great way of keeping intruders at bay and can be purchased from most large DIY stores.
The boundaries of your property are your first line of defence. Ensure that gates, fences and walls are in a good state of repair. Make sure rear garden fences are high enough to make climbing over them difficult. A trellis can be added to assist.
Side gates to be positioned to the front of the house. Increasing natural surveillance to deter intrusion.
Gates to be kept locked at all times.
‘Defensive Planting’ is the term used to describe the way you can use certain prickly plants, bushes and shrubs to deter thieves and burglars.
This green-leafed security measure is not meant to replace, but to complement other security measures, such as lighting, locks and alarms. Think about using defensive planting around vulnerable areas such as: Windows, Fences, Boundary walls, Drainpipes.
And for shed security: Keep your shed in good condition; Fit a closed shackle padlock to the door. Fittings should be bolted through the door and any screws concealed; Fit grilles or mesh to the windows; Invest in an alarm
Make sure: Large items such as bicycles are chained together. It is much more difficult for a thief to carry away a lot of large heavy items all at once; Ladders are locked to a secure fixture in the shed or garage so they cannot be used to reach top floor windows of your house. Valuables should be marked with your postcode.
(Reproduced from Mid-Ulster Mail, 18th April)
Gardien Comment: Good advice, more of which can be found at - see also the article on Shed Security at

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bag of compost stolen from pensioner's home

 MALVERN residents are being warned to be careful what they leave outside their homes after thieves entered a pensioner’s property and made off with a bag of compost she was going to use to tend her garden.

John Shuker contacted the Malvern Gazette after the 80-litre sack was stolen from his 82-yearold mother Betty’s doorstep in Bluebell Close, Poolbrook, overnight on Monday, March 12.
He described the theft as “bizarre”, but said it had unsettled his mother and showed that even the most innocuous of items could end up being stolen if left unattended.
“The bag of peat/compost was delivered to her front door without her knowledge and she only noticed it on the doorstep when she went to lock up at 10pm,” he explained. “As she couldn’t lift it and it was too late to get somebody else to move it, she decided to leave it until the morning. But when the housekeeper arrived at 8am and my mother asked her to carry it in, it had disappeared.”
Mr Shuker said the bag, which he said was worth about £20 or £30, was clearly labelled so there would have been no confusion as to exactly what was being taken.
“It sounds trivial but to an 82- year-old lady who lives on her own the thought of someone having the audacity to invade her privacy like this is not a happy one,”
He added. “It seems there are some people roaming the streets who will steal anything so I would urge other residents to keep an eye out.”
(Reproduced from the Malvern Gazette, 12th April)
Gardien Comment:  If thieves will steal something as unattractive as a bag of compost, think what will happen if items of any value are on display. Protect your property by following the advice at

Monday, April 9, 2012

Police warn of garden thieves

AS SPRING approaches, gardeners are being urged to protect their blooms from green-fingered burglars.
Last year, thieves across Swale targeted hanging baskets on display at homes and commercial buildings.
In one village alone nearly £800 worth of hanging baskets were stolen.
The hanging baskets are worth in the region of £30 to £40 each and it is believed the thieves sell them on to unsuspecting gardeners.
Sergeant Tim Hill from the Swale Community Safety Unit explained: "It might sound a peculiar crime, but historically it has been an issue across Swale and it can be a profitable venture for criminals in the summer months.
"We would urge homeowners to take proactive measures to ensure they don't become victims.
"Even taking the simplest of measures will deter criminals, and in turn potentially prevent a crime taking place."
Police will be attending the Home And Garden Show at Leeds Castle on May 19 to explain the different types of crime prevention that can be used to deter thieves, such as shed alarms.
Advice for gardeners also includes buying lockable hanging baskets, security marking or photographing valuable items and the use of security lighting or CCTV.

(Reproduced from ThisIsKent 9th April)
Gardien Comment:  For full  advice re Garden Security vist

Watch out for warm weather crooks

The warmer months are said to cause a rise in opportunist thefts of items such as bicycles and tools.
Officers in Hartlepool say they have already seen a slight increase in these types of crimes and are now aiming to raise awareness of home and garden security.
PC Steve Davies, crime reduction officer for Hartlepool Police, said: “Although in general crime in Hartlepool continues to fall, we have seen a recent increase in certain types of crime which tends to occur with the arrival of spring time and the recent good weather.
“Crimes which we have seen increasing recently have included burglaries to sheds, garages and outhouses whereby pedal cycles, gardening equipment and tools have been targeted.
“We have also seen an increase in the theft of pedal cycles which have been left unattended and insecure in people’s gardens or outside of shops.
“I would urge people to remain vigilant and take measures that will reduce the risk of becoming a victim.”
The three main areas where people can increase security is said to be around their sheds, garages and gardens with the use of lighting, locks and prickly plants.
PC Davies says people should also try not to leave bicycles unattended, or to lock them to secure objects in busy places if that is not possible.
Anyone who wants further crime prevention advice can contact PC Davies on (01642) 302579.
Garden Security
•Side gates should be kept locked;
•Fencing should be well maintained. Boxed trellis fixed to the top of fencing deters climbing;
•Planting of spiky plants against a fence improves security;
•Don’t leave gardening tools out. They can be used to break into a shed or house;
Shed Security
•Use a good quality lock with a closed shackle and a hasp which does not leave fixings visible. Use bolts instead of screws;
•If there’s a window, cover it with a grill and use an old curtain to stop people looking inside;
•Attach hinges with bolts instead of screws and reinforce the area around the hinges on the inside of the shed;
•Fit a shed bar across the door which has an enclosed cover over the padlock to offer greater protection from the lock being attacked;
•Fit a shed alarm;
•Consider using dusk to dawn lighting;
•Use visible security markings;
•Valuable items such as pedal cycles can be fastened together with a cable to make them hard to remove.
Garage Security
•Additional locks can be fitted to the outside of the door and fitted into the brick work or concrete floor;
•Any side access doors to garages should be of the same security as the doors to your home;
•Consider extending your house alarm to the garage;
•Valuable items should be fastened together with a cable to make them difficult to move;
•Always keep the garage door locked even for the shortest time and keep the contents out of sight from any prying eyes.
Pedal Cycle Security
•Never leave them unattended and unlocked;
•If you have to leave them unattended, lock them to a fixed item such as metal railings or lamppost in an area which is busy with passing pedestrians;
•Never leave your bike outside in rear yards

(Reproduced from Hartlepool Mail, 9th April)
Gardien Comment: See the article on Shed Security at and the article on Bike Security at

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Couple's shock over theft of garden figurines

A COUPLE in Tresaith are hoping it’s a case of ‘hi-ho hi-ho, it’s off to jail you go’ for thieves who stole three-dozen garden ornaments including a bespoke set of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from outside their home last month.
Hugh and Joan Barrington awoke to a massive shock on the morning of Saturday, 3 March, after they realised that their large collection of gnomes, statues and ornaments had been stolen from their front garden at Fedwen Cottage in the dead of night.
Joan, 64 and 74-year-old Hugh, told the Cambrian News that the incident had left them shaken and hoped that, with the help of local residents and police, the thieves could be caught.
In what looks like a planned robbery, the thieves made off with the ornaments late on Friday, 2 March or early on Saturday morning.
The ornaments were amassed over a period of 30 years by the couple and have moved with them from house to house.
They included a set of Snow White and the seven dwarfs, bought in Blackpool 25 years ago for £30, while many of the stolen ornaments were presents from family and friends down the years.
One of the couple’s particular favourites, a girl sitting on a bench reading a book, was also taken. Only one gnome now remains.
(Reproduced from Cambrian News,  4th April)
Gardien Comment:  Using SelectDNA with a suitable warning notice will deter most thieves, See

Nip garden crime in the bud

WEST Mercia Police is urging green-fingered residents to help the force ‘weed out' garden crime.

Around 1,500 shed burglaries take place every year across the county, which highlights the importance of storing valuable items securely.
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.
"With the Easter holidays starting this week, more people will take the opportunity to get out into their gardens and bring them back to life after the cold winter," said PC Ian White, the force's crime risk manager.
He added: "I would urge people - while they're out and about in the garden - not to store expensive items such as power tools, mowers, garden tools, bicycles and golf clubs in sheds. If possible, keep 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.
"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."
(Reproduced from Redditch Advertiser 4th April)
Gardien Comment: Lots of advice and quality security products can be found at