Uttlesford residents urged to lock up their gardening equipment following spate of shed burglaries

POLICE are urging residents in Uttlesford to secure their gardening equipment following a number of shed burglaries.

Between 8pm on April 29 and 10am on May 1 suspects broke into sheds and outbuildings in Hatfield Broad Oak and stole items totalling �7,500.

The goods taken includes two Hayter petrol lawn mowers, gym equipment, a Drover men’s mountain bike, and a television.

Officers are appealing for anyone who witnessed or has information about these crimes to contact Dunmow police station on 0300 333 4444, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

• Uttlesford district crime reduction advisor Peter Caulfield has a few top tips for keeping garden equipment and sheds safe from thieves.

“I would urge everyone to make a note of all their gardening equipment, recording the make, model and serial number,” he said.

“We also recommend that you mark all your equipment in a highly visible manner, 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.

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“Also, do securely lock your shed, with bolts that cannot be prised off. Larger tools and items such as bikes and lawn mowers should ideally be chained to a shed shackle on the wall, or to an ‘Eye’ type anchor fix into the concrete floor inside the shed.”

Shed doors can be further secured with shed alarms and a ‘shed bar’ lock. Approved security products can be seen on web sites soldsecure.com or securedbydesign.com.

“Please don’t advertise your gardening equipment to passers by. If you keep your tools in your garage or a shed, don’t leave the door open for long periods for everyone to see,” added Mr Caulfield.

“In addition, if you’ve just bought some new gardening equipment, don’t put the box out for collection at the roadside: please turn the box inside out or break it down so it fits inside the bag or bin, protecting your privacy.”

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

Mr Caulfield explains: “In everyday language, ‘defensive planting’ 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.”

Residents should also consider topping fences with trellis that will collapse on the weight of someone climbing it, or alternately adding a spiky topping to fences, with relevant warning signs affixed to the fence.

For further information on keeping your shed and garden secure contact Mr Caulfield on 0300 333 4444 ext