Friday, June 29, 2012

Garden ornaments targeted in recent spate of thefts

STATUES, ceramic pots and even a concrete elephant are among a host of garden ornaments that have been stolen from gardens across East Cambridgeshire.
Police say crooks have been specifically targeting ornaments in recent weeks, with at least 12 incidents stretching back to April.
It is thought thieves may be trying to cash in by selling on the ornaments. Now police have released an image of one of the stolen items – a two-foot tall elephant - in a bid to catch those responsible.
The elephant was taken from outside a home in Thirlwall Drive, Fordham, between 10.30pm on June 19 and 8am the following day. The theft is one of a string of incidents police are investigating in the area.
Four thefts occurred in Soham during April: a three-foot ornate Victorian chimney pot was stolen from Fountain Lane; a terracotta ball, cone and cylinder were taken from a garden in Sand Street; an ornamental chimney was stolen from Pratt Street and metal coated square tubs were taken in Bittern Grove.
That month thieves also helped themselves to concrete stands in Station Road, Haddenham, and two concrete flowerpots were taken from Ely Road, Witchford.
In May, a three-foot stone statue of a hat-wearing woman pushing a wheel barrow was stolen from a garden in Frank Bridges Close, Soham.
So far this month a sandstone dog labelled ‘beware of the owner’ was stolen from Clarks Drove, Soham, an urn on a pedestal atop a three-foot column was taken from Strollers Way, Stetchworth, and two black ceramic pots were stolen from Cedar Gardens, Burwell.
The latest incident saw a stone figurine stolen from Henley Way between 9am on June 22 and 4pm on Monday (June 25).
Detective Inspector Donna Wass said: “These are very distinctive items and some are very heavy, such as the concrete elephant which would have required more than one person to move.
“I would urge anyone who knows who is responsible for these thefts, or has been offered these items for sale, to contact police.”
Anyone with any information should call DI Wass on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 
(Reproduced from Ely Standard, June 29th)
Gardien Comment:   See the advice re Garden Antiques at           

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Endangered tortoises stolen from Banstead (Surrey) garden

  • Harriet and Mildred are Hermann's tortoises

Gillian Gibson’s two Hermann’s tortoises, each the size of a hand, disappeared from a secure enclosure in her back garden, in Greenhayes Avenue in Banstead, between 4pm on Friday, June 15 and 12.30pm on Saturday, June 16.
The tortoises are so rare they are worth hundreds of pounds each and anyone who buys one without a licence could face five years behind bars.
Ms Gibson, who has had Harriet and Mildred since they were hatchlings, is convinced they have been stolen.
She said: "There is no way they could have escaped on their own or been taken by an animal.
"The only access to our garden is through the house or garage, both of which were locked, and we were at home overnight on the Friday.
"We believe someone has entered through neighbouring gardens.
"Tortoises require specialist care, appropriate heat, light and feeding and we are greatly concerned about the welfare of our two."
Ms Gibson has reported the theft to police and to John Hayward, coordinator of the National Exotic Pet Theft Register.
He said there has been an increase in the reports made to the organisation relating to lost, found and stolen tortoises - from 82 incidents in 2010 to 155 in 2011.
Mr Hayward said: "The theft of tortoises is one of the biggest types we have throughout the country.
"Tortoises require the sun’s rays for their growth, welfare and metabolism and so many are kept outside in garden and are often the target of thieves who see them as valuable items.
"Hermann’s tortoises are one of the most endangered species.
"They cannot be legally sold without a licence and anyone who does so commits a serious criminal offence which carries up to five years imprisonment.
"But the concern relates to the welfare of the tortoises as thieves will not be aware of their nutritional needs."
Mr Hayward said owners should take regular photographs of their tortoises so they are "positively identifiable" - particularly of their undersides, or plastrons, which contain unique pigmentation and striation features, personal to each tortoise.
He said: "If the tortoise is large enough it can be micro-chipped, but any tortoise should be regularly photographed because of its unique markings on the underside - the tortoise ‘finger print’ system."
Call Mr Hayward on 01869 325699 if you have any information about the missing tortoises.
(Reproduced from  26th June)
Gardien Comment: It is vital to minimise the chance of entering your garden if you keep tortoises or other pets outside. See the advice re walls and fences, gates and access at and

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mother’s disgust at theft of girls’ bikes

A MOTHER-of-four from Bledington is appealing for two bicycles to be returned after they were stolen from her back garden.
Teressa Causier said she thought it was “disgusting”
after two bikes belonging to her daughters, Ceileigh and Leoni, were taken from their garden on Old Burford Road overnight on Tuesday, June 12.
Her 15-year-old daughter Ceileigh, who is deaf and partially sighted and suffers with mild cerebral palsy, uses the blue and silver Apollo bike to get around the village while 11-year-old Leoni’s pink and blue bike was a Christmas gift.
Mrs Causier said the bikes were kept at the side of their back garden with two smaller bikes which were left untouched. “My first thought was that it’s somebody who wanted transport quickly, possibly to get to the train station in Kingham,” she said.
“They were visible from the road but they’ve been in that same place for 18 months and they were still there after the Stow Horse Fair – a time when people would assume they would be stolen.
“It would be nice if the people that took them returned them. I think it’s disgusting that somebody could do that to a couple of young girls especially with special needs.
“If they could just have knocked on the door and said they needed a lift we would have given them one.”
If anyone has any information they should contact police on 101.
(Reproduced from Tewkesbury Admag  26th June)
Gardien Comment: See the article on Bike Security at

Hanging baskets, plants stolen in spate of crimes in Syston (Leicestershire)

Thieves have stolen hanging baskets and potted plants during a spate of crimes targeting Syston's front gardens.
At least 23 thefts have been reported to police in Syston in the past few months.
Officers believe other homes have been targeted but that the victims did not contact police.
Streets where thefts have taken place include Mostyn Avenue, off Melton Road.
Residents David and Sandie Moran had two hanging baskets taken from the front of their home.
Mrs Moran, 65, said: "We had two hanging baskets taken last summer. We don't have any outside the house now because we don't know if they would be stolen, too.
"It's very sad that people would steal things like this. People like us put a lot of hard work into these things because we want to make out homes look nice.
"Gardening is a kind of therapy for me and a lot of other people and these thieves are spoiling it for us."
Her husband, 66, said: "When our hanging baskets were stolen, I thought at first it was a prank of some kind by kids or someone coming back from the pub.
"If that was the case we'd have found the plants down the road somewhere. But we didn't, so I assume they were stolen to be sold or maybe they are taking them for their own gardens, I just don't know."
Mick and Barbara Pridmore, who also live in Mostyn Avenue, have also been targeted.
Mrs Pridmore, 67, said: "We had a complete row of conifers stolen from the front of our house.
"They hadn't been there long and we woke up one morning and they were gone.
"We've put gravel down in our front garden now and don't have so many plants because there's always a chance they would be stolen.
Mr Pridmore, 68, said: "I suppose if someone wants something badly enough they will take it, but taking plants from people's gardens doesn't make sense to me.
"They aren't particularly valuable, so if they're selling them, how much money are they making?"
Sergeant Andy Moscrop, of Syston police station, said thefts were an ongoing problem which had increased in scale in the past few months.
He said: "Until we catch the person or people responsible, we won't know their motive for all these thefts.
"We don't know whether they're selling them on, keeping them for themselves or just being disruptive.
"Given the number of reports and the fact it's happening overnight, we're assuming it's someone fairly local."
Information can be passed to Pc Richard Melody or Pcso Glenn Freeman of the Syston beat team by calling 101. Information can also be passed to officers anonymously, via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

(Reproduced from thisisleicestershire  25th June)
Gardien Comment: See the advice re Outdoor Items at

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Injured kid's £450 bike stolen

A TRANENT (near Edinburgh) teenager's luck went from bad to worse on Sunday when he badly injured his hand while riding his BMX - then was shocked to witness a callous thief swipe the bike from his back garden just two hours later.
Christopher Russell (pictured), 13, had had his chrome silver Haro BMX bike, worth £450, for just four months before it was stolen from the rear of his home on Carlaverock Court at about 11pm.
The theft occurred after the Ross High pupil returned home from cycling at about 9pm, having severely injured his hand on the chain of his bike.
He left the BMX lying at his back door, and ran inside the house for help from his parents, Jonny and Gillian.
After bandaging their son's hand, the couple decided to monitor the injury before deciding whether or not he required hospital treatment.
Some two hours later, Christopher spotted a thief enter the family's back garden and steal his BMX.
He told the Courier: "I ran straight in the house because there was a lot of blood. I had been stupid, I had put my hand in the chain to make sure it was turning and then it slid along and cut me.
"After I'd came in the house I'd asked dad to put my bike in the garage. We forgot about it, so I asked him again a bit later.
"I was in my bedroom [on the first floor] looking down into the back garden. It was really dark but then I saw someone come in and lift my bike. I couldn't believe it. I just ran down the stairs shouting for my dad but it was too late; by the time he got out there, the bike was gone."
A friend of Christopher's is believed to have discovered the bike dumped and damaged in the playpark within the Muirpark estate on Tuesday evening. Christopher, who returned to school on Wednesday, was still to positively identify the BMX at the time of going to press.
Dad Jonny added: "This was a totally opportunistic crime and it is disgusting. I couldn't believe it when he came through screaming that someone was lifting it out of the garden.
"He's only had the bike for four months but he has been on it all the time at Transgression Park (indoor skatepark at Peffermill Industrial Estate) practicing stunts.
"He's got really good at it as well.
"The thing that annoys me most is that my son is now afraid in his own home. He got a real fright."
After his bike was stolen, Christopher then spent the rest of the night receiving treatment in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and did not return home until 3am the next day.
The teen had broken the middle finger of his right hand, needed one of his fingernails removed and required several stitches.
A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "The suspect, who was seen making off with the cycle, is described as male, white, late teens to mid-20s and wearing dark clothing."
An East Lothian Council spokeswoman said the street lights had been turned off due to a vandal damaging fuses within a secure control box on Carlaverock Court.
(Reproduced from East Lothian Courier, 14th June)
Gardien Comment: See the article on Bike Security at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Councillor speaks of disbelief that anyone could ‘stoop so low’ to steal from crematorium


A senior councillor says she is “horrified” and “disgusted” after thieves stole 100 plants from a baby garden at a crematorium.
And Coun Pat Latty could not believe anyone could “stoop so low” as to take the plants from Rawdon Crematorium.
The thieves struck at some time during a 90-minute window on Sunday afternoon, shortly after council workers had planted flowers in the special garden.
A police spokesman said the plants, reportedly worth about £50 were taken between 4pm and 5.30pm.
Coun Latty, who represents the Guiseley and Rawdon ward on Leeds City Council, said: “The only thing I can say is it’s absolutely disgusting.
“I cannot believe anybody would stoop so low as to steal bedding plants from a crematorium let alone a baby garden.
“I’m absolutely horrified.
“I hope if anybody has seen anything they let the police know.”
A spokesman for Leeds City Council, which looks after the area including the baby garden, described the theft as “shocking”.
“It is quite shocking that someone appears to have stolen some bedding plants that the grounds staff had only just planted out last week at Rawdon cemetery,” she said.
“This has been reported to the local police as theft and while we endeavour to keep our cemeteries as secure as possible, particularly at night, we are also mindful that they are public open spaces.
“We would ask our visitors to remain vigilant at all times and if they see anything untoward, please report this to either the police or to the main office at Farnley Hall on             (0113) 3957400      .”
The spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said officers from the North West Outer Neighbourhood Policing Team were investigating the theft and urged anyone with any information about the incident or the plants to come forward.
He said the theft related solely to the baby garden at the crematorium and anyone with information should call the police’s non-emergency number 101.
(Reproduced from the Bradford Argus and Telegraph, 13th June)
Gardien Comment: It's not the monetary value which matters but the bad taste such behaviour leaves. Surely someone saw what was happening and should have questionned what was going on?

Thieves steal bikes in raid (Preston)

1. Bikes worth more than £2,000 were stolen after thieves broke into a garden shed. The incident happened at a property in Woodplumpton Road, Ashton, Preston. Between 6pm on June 4 and 7.50pm on Sunday, the thief got into the back garden of the home before breaking into the shed. A Dolan Milos road bike, a Scott speedster road bike and a Claud Butler Kyalima mountain bike were stolen from the shed.
2. Bike was left in side garden
A bicycle which was left in the side garden of a house has been stolen. The pink ladies’ mountain bike was left at the side of a property in Broughton Tower Way, Fulwood. It happened between 1pm on Saturday and 10am on Sunday. The access gates to the garden had been left open.

(Reproduced from Lancashire Evening Post, 12th June)
Gardien Comment: See the article on Bike Security at

Monday, June 11, 2012



A GIRL has been left devastated after thieves stole her bicycle.
The theft happened between 1am and 2am on Wednesday, from the rear garden of a property in Mount Pleasant Road, Upperby, Carlisle.
The 11-year-old victim told officers it was a light pink British Eagle Kudos mountain bike, with a 24in frame.
Thieves are warned that the bike has been marked with a UV stamp, and also has a Cumbria Police cycle sticker on it.
Police are also investigating the theft of a second bicycle from a rear garden in Mount Pleasant Road overnight on Thursday. On that occasion, thieves stole a woman’s red Raleigh mountain bike worth about £50.
Officers are reminding residents never to leave property in a rear garden, even if there is a gate, but always to lock them away.
Anyone with any information should call 101.
(Reproduced from News & Star, 11th June)
Gardien Comment: See the article on Shed Security at

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nelson residents urged to protect garden from thieves


Residents in Nelson (Gwent) are being offered cut-price property marking kits which help trace items if they are stolen.
Ystrad Mynach police officers have teamed up with Nelson Neighbourhood Watch to promote crime prevention advice and encourage people to security mark their garden furniture and tools.
Nelson Neighbourhood Watch has received funding of £100 from the local community council and added £90 of its own funding to purchase ten forensic marking kits for residents to buy at £10 each.
Residents can mark their property with a solution that is invisible under normal light but shows up under UV light.
If your items marked are stolen and turn up, it can easily be traced back and the offender can be forensically linked with the crime scene.
Nelson PCSO Matthew Jones said: “We tend to see a rise in shed burglaries during the summer. We often find that people spend a great deal of money on expensive garden furniture, tools and sports equipment, and then store it in their shed with only a cheap padlock for security.
“These items are far too valuable for residents to be complacent about the security of their shed. It’s these simple crime prevention tips that limit the opportunities for residents to become a victim of crime.”
David Spacey, secretary of Nelson Neighbourhood Watch, said: “The forensic marking technology kits are an excellent and cheap way to help reduce crime in the area. The kits will also act as a deterrent – as residents can put up a sticker found in their pack in their windows, warning the thief that their property is marked.”
Nelson Neighbourhood Watch are also recruiting members to OWL, which stands for the Online Watch Link.
OWL is a modern day Neighbourhood Watch scheme which enables police officers, residents and coordinators to communicate better using the internet.
If you are interested in purchasing a forensic marking kit for £10, contact PCSO Matthew Jones on 01443 865 595 or email
For more information about OWL, visit
(Reproduced from Caerphilly Observer, 8th June)
Gardien Comment: See the article on Shed Security at