The average garden contents are worth around £2,000, but many homes have much higher value items in their gardens, from garden furniture, plants and ornaments to BBQs, trampolines and even hot tubs.
ONS figures show that there were more than 730,000 thefts from gardens and outhouses such as sheds and garages, between April 2015 and March 2016, which works out at more than 2,000 each day, that’s one every 43 seconds.
And in the summer, our gardens are even more at risk; with so many of us leaving items out in the garden, day and night, thieves are 25% more likely to target gardens in the summer.
- Lock gates, sheds and other outbuildings
You should also lock garages and sheds because we often have more value in these outbuildings than we think – lawnmowers and other tools, garden furniture, scooters and of course bikes – almost 19,000 bikes are stolen each year, that’s more than 50 a day.
- Put tools and valuables away
In the summer, many of us spend all day, or even a whole weekend, gardening, doing odd jobs and maybe having a BBQ or something in the evening. It is so easy to leave tools, furniture and other valuables out, either while you pop out for more supplies, or overnight for use again in the morning.
- Attach bigger items
There are obviously some items that are too big to be put away – like furniture –or practically can’t be put away, for example, plants and ornaments, so it is a good idea to secure these to the ground or wall/fence. Furniture is the most stolen garden item, with a theft every two minutes, so it is important to protect it.
You should also consider chaining up your wheelie bin – 160 are stolen every day!
- Get security lights and install gravel
Security lights are a huge deterrent for thieves. Motion sensitive lights are particularly good, and high fences or prickly hedges around the garden can help deter intruders too. Make sure there are no gaps in your fence for thieves to slip through and it is also a good idea to install a gravel driveway; it can help you hear when someone is coming down your drive.
- Make your mark
You should mark valuable items with your postcode – the easiest way is to mark with UV pens, paint, and Smart water or to etch or engrave your details into the item. This not only makes items identifiable and can help with the recovery of items, but if your items are marked, they are less appealing and potentially less valuable to thieves.
- Make it look like you’re around
As with your home, if you are away, you need to make it look like you are around. If you can get a neighbor to pop in and water plants, even mow the lawn that will give the impression you are still around. Don’t leave bins at the end of the road, and think about lights that are on a timer.