Police issue warning over shed crime

PUBLISHED: 07:51 06 August 2010

Essex Police

Essex Police

Archant

A SIGNIFICANT rise in the number of shed break-ins across the district has prompted police to issue a warning to people who own expensive tools and gardening equipment.

A SIGNIFICANT rise in the number of shed break-ins across the district has prompted police to issue a warning to people who own expensive tools and gardening equipment.

The most recent incident in Saffron Walden occurred in Castle Street last Tuesday when thieves broke a padlock on an outbuilding and stole £90 worth of gardening tools including a rake, a shovel and a fork.

Although areas around Saffron Walden have, so far, escaped quite lightly from the burglaries, other areas in Uttlesford have not been so fortunate.

Hatfield Heath was targeted in four separate thefts overnight last Wednesday in which a total of £4700 worth of goods were stolen. Among the items in the haul were two outboard motors and power tools.

Insp Kevin Wakefield of Saffron Walden Police Station said: “It often happens that we see an increase in shed burglaries at this time of year. People are spending a lot of money on new gardening equipment, but they do not put the same level of security on their sheds and outbuildings as they do on their houses.”

Uttlesford’s crime reduction advisor Peter Caulfield urged residents to mark their gardening equipment.

“Mark it in a highly visible manner,” he said. “Such as scratching or engraving or using a permanent security marker, showing your postcode and house number or name.

“This makes it less attractive to thieves as the equipment is then much harder to sell on the black market.

“Lock sheds with bolts that cannot be prised off. Larger items such as bikes and lawn mowers should ideally be chained up securely.”

There are also plenty of ways of increasing the security of back gardens, particularly through using what experts call defensive planting.

Mr Caulfield said: “This means putting prickly shrubs in areas of your garden where they can deter would-be thieves. So, if your garden borders public areas consider planting prickly bushes in that area.”

He said residents should also consider topping fences with trellis that will collapse under the weight of someone climbing it. Alternatively, a spiky topping can be added with relevant warning signs affixed to the fence.

Anyone with any information should about shed crime should contact the police on 0300 333 4444, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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