Garden theft. It happens more often than you may think – but we’re here to help you to prevent your garden goodies from going missing this year, or at least work out whether they are covered if they do!
Here’s the stats: there are roughly 600,000 reported thefts from UK gardens in the UK every year. In 2020, thefts from outbuildings accounted for a fifth (20 per cent) of all burglary claims but more than two-third of us (67%) admitted our outbuildings were easily accessible. Even more worrying, one in six (16 per cent) people admit they don’t do anything to secure them. Worse still, thieves can use tools they find in the garden to also break into a house!
The upside? There are some easy wins! With a bit more diligence, the risk could be reduced significantly, and quite easily.
Gardens are no longer just an outside space with a bit of grass and a dash of sunshine. Nowadays, gardens are full of expensive garden furniture, top of the range BBQs, trampolines, hot tubs, or garden rooms containing televisions or even bars.
These days, the value of items in a back garden are comparable to those of a living room. Thieves know this and are lying in wait, which is why garden theft increases over the summer months when more expensive items are left outside unattended.
It’s amazing how many householders leave lawnmowers, pools, bicycles, toys and other items, including laptops, phones and tools outside during the warmer months. When it comes to these valuables, it’s important to take them indoors, or lock them away in a shed, garage or storage box when not in use – and make sure your gate is locked!
Here are our suggestions which help prevent garden theft:
Install outdoor lights in your garden
Motion sensitive security lights are a big deterrent for thieves. Alternatively, the police recommend solutions like high hedging or noisily snapping trellis to put thieves off from jumping the fence.
Secure certain garden objects to the ground
While all valuable items should be locked away to prevent theft, sometimes this is simply not practical. For bigger items which cannot easily be stored, think about anchoring them to the ground.
Garden furniture thefts accounts for the majority of garden thefts, so prevent it by using wall or floor anchors. Secure items like trampolines, water features, bird tables, and valuable plants, hanging brackets and potted trees and shrubs by anchoring them with wires, or setting in concrete! Individual tools and ladders can be secured with a chain attached to the wall.
Lock down your garden and shed
The opportunist thief won’t care if you’re at home – if they spot that there is access to the garden or a shed, they’ll be in.
- Start by repairing any gaps in your fence and shed, and replacing weather-damaged panels – including checking for rusted screws. Then make sure you have a fully functioning heavy-duty padlock to lock your garden gates.
- If you have items of value in your shed, don’t leave them in view. It’s easy to add simple blinds to your shed windows yourself for under £10.
- 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.
Even with the above precautions in place, a burglar may still be able to break in if they have come prepared with the right tools. 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. Fitting a shed alarm is also likely to scare them off.
‘Smartwater’ your garden
Smartwater© and SmartTrace© are invisible forensic markers ideal for marking personal property. They aren’t just for cars and bicycles; they are perfect for marking your garden valuables too.
Not only does it make them identifiable if they are found, the signs and stickers that come with each pack make it clear to thieves that your items are marked. It’s another deterrent to add to your artillery of lighting, trellis and hedges.
Use a timer when you’re out or away
This simple bit of advice applies throughout the year – not just during the warmer months.
If you are away, ask your neighbours to park on your drive, get someone to pop over to check the house and water your plants. Make sure someone puts your rubbish out on the right day and brings your bin in.
Use a timer to put your lights on – and we always remind our clients not to post pictures of your holiday on social media while you’re still away! Save it for when you’re safely back in your home, and garden.
Although it’s a useful reminder to all of us to secure our gardens before the weather gets hot, it doesn’t guarantee that you will not have a few items stolen. This is why it’s so important to have the right cover in place.
Are you covered for the right amount if you add a new hot tub, bought a bicycle to store in your shed, or even have a drone or brand-new power tools stowed in there?
Have you recently installed a garden cinema room, or added some beautiful garden furniture to your outside living space?
Our gardens are so much more than a place to grow our plants, which is why now is the time to make sure all of your new additions are covered under your home insurance.
Which are the most stolen from a garden?
If you own any of these, take extra precautions:
- Plant pots
- Garden tools
- Garden gnomes and other garden ornaments
- Delivery packages
- Hanging baskets
- Children’s toys
- Outdoor furniture
- Solar lights
Sources: SunLife, YourMortgage, CountryLiving