During the past year, many of us have spent more time in our gardens due to lockdown restrictions. We previously reported on the increase in Hot Tubs being bought, but according to MoneySuperMarket 28% of Brits have spent money on their gardens during the past year, with the average garden possessions worth £1,200 per home – that’s equivalent to £28billion nationwide! Staggering really.
But it’s not just what’s in our gardens that’s of value – it’s what’s stored in our sheds. In an article in This is Money, it states that during the past three years £30million worth of possessions have been stolen from garden sheds and outbuildings!
As you might expect, pedal cycles came top in the most common item stolen at 52% with tools and hardware coming in second at 22%. But with many more people working in their newly coined “shoffice” (shed/office if you didn’t guess), electronics and appliances make up for 7 per cent of the thefts.
Our very own Chief Marketing Officer unfortunately experienced this himself after his garden shed was broken into with two bikes being stolen. Alastair Pegg commented “We live in what I consider to be a low-crime area and was shocked to find this had happened. When talking to the police, they said there had been a recent spate of thefts from gardens in the past few months. Luckily I’ve got insurance, but nobody likes the idea of being broken into. I’ve now upgraded our security to deter would be thieves.”
So how can you protect your property – here we list our top tips
- Keep your garden gates locked with a heavy-duty padlock. If you have any rusted screws or fastenings, you should replace these. Fix any gaps in your fence, replacing weather-damaged panels
- Shed locks – opportunist thieves won’t care if you’re at home or not, if there’s easy access to a garden and the shed or outbuilding is unlocked, this could be easy pickings for the sneaky criminals. By ensuring your garden is secure and you have locks will be a deterrent. Of course, if you’ve got some expensive tools and bikes stored, then you should consider getting some hasp and staple lock, together with a padlock.
- Shed alarms – Even with the above precautions in place, a burglar will still be able to break in if they’re wise to your efforts and have the right tools. That’s why fitting an alarm to scare them off is our next tip to a secure shed. Place a motion sensor in the corner of the shed, along with a door sensor, and a siren will sound whenever an intruder is detected. You can get wireless alarms which are great as they don’t need to be connected to the mains electricity supply. Try Yale, Digitech, CPVAN or KKMoon for their option of shed alarms.
- You should also check your shed for weak spots as this could make it easier for thieves to break in
- Add blinds to your shed windows, so thieves can’t see what you’re storing inside
- Invest in outdoor security lighting, at the front and back of the house, to deter thieves entering your garden. A CCTV camera and motion-detecting lights are the biggest deterrents when looking to break in.
- Ladders and wheelie bins can be used by burglars to get into a garden. It’s important to store them where they can’t be seen or reached – or lock them up so they can’t be moved.
- Individual tools and ladders can be secured with a chain attached to the wall
- Mark your belongings – adding your postcode on your belongings makes it three times more likely you will get them back if they are stolen. You can do this by painting, engraving or burning it into an inconspicuous place, or using a special pen only readable by ultraviolet light – often available free from the police.
Check your insurance policy to ensure that you’re fully covered for garden and shed possessions. Say for example if you have a bike that’s worth £4,000 new, does your home insurance cover this value?
And of course, if you need help, contact your local A-Plan branch who can advise you on the level of cover you need.