Nine in 10 household thefts are from the garden
There are almost 600,000 thefts from gardens every year in the UK – that’s an average of around 11,500 a week, according to SunLife.
It found there was a rise of 23% in garden thefts between 2017 and 2018, as gardens now contain more high value items, from garden furniture to BBQs and trampolines.
Gardens are most at risk during the summer months, when many of us leave things like lawnmowers, paddling pools, tools and other items out rather than storing them away.
So, how can you make sure your garden is not targeted this summer?
Five ways to protect your garden
Simon Stanney, general insurance director at SunLife, offers his top tips below to protect your garden.
He says: “All these measures should be a good deterrent, but nothing can keep your home and garden completely safe, so it is imperative you make sure you have good, comprehensive cover in place.
“Theft from gardens, sheds and other outbuildings are generally covered as standard by most home contents insurance policies, but the amount of cover varies. Most insurers also have a ‘single item limit’ so if you want cover for specific valuable items, you should let your home insurance provider know.”
1. Lock up and put things away
If you are out all day in the garden – perhaps gardening, doing odd jobs, getting out the paddling pool or maybe having a BBQ in the evening – it is tempting to leave tools, furniture, bikes and other valuables out, either for use again the next day, or while you pop out for more supplies.
But leaving them out makes them prime targets for thieves, so it is important that you put these items away when you are not around and at night and that you lock any sheds, garages and gates. It is a sad fact that thieves use tools they find in gardens to break into houses, so don’t make it easy for them.
2. Secure items to the ground, fences and walls
While ideally, all valuable items would be put away to prevent theft, sometimes this is simply not practical, so for bigger items which cannot easily be stored, think about anchoring them to the ground.
Garden furniture thefts account the majority of garden thefts so prevent it by using wall or floor anchors. It is also a good idea to secure things 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, it makes it almost impossible for thieves to take them away.
3. Get lights
One of the biggest deterrents for thieves is motion sensitive security lights; they draw attention to your home and put thieves off from targeting it. Making it ‘noisy’ to enter your garden can also discourage would-be thieves, so putting gravel down can help. Having high fences, walls and hedges to make entering your garden more difficult is also a good idea.
4. Don’t make it obvious when you go away
If you are away, try and get someone to pop over every now and again to water your plants, put your rubbish out on the right day – perhaps even mow your lawn – so it will look like you are still around. Maybe see if someone will park their car on your drive at night too. Think about putting lights on a timer and don’t post pictures of your holiday on social media while you’re still away!
5. Leave a fingerprint
It is a good idea to mark all your valuables – not only does it make them identifiable which can help with the recovery if they are stolen, but if you make it clear to thieves that your items are marked, they are less appealing and potentially less valuable so not worth taking.