Increase in thefts from sheds and garages in Herts during coronavirus lockdown

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There have been an increase in thefts from residents' gardens, sheds and garages since the start of the coronavirus lockdown as warmer weather coincides with people being at home.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is advising residents to make sure their gardens, sheds and garages are secure this spring as people confined to home are spending a lot of time in their gardens using gardening tools and leisure equipment, which are often left out or stored in outbuildings.

Burglars tend to target sheds, garages and outbuildings, at this time of year looking for valuable power tools, bikes and other expensive items.

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Inspector Nicola Dean from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Reduction Team, said: “We have seen an increase in thefts from gardens, sheds and garages, in certain areas and with many people confined to home, burglars are targeting outbuildings. We are recommending that everyone takes some basic security measures to make sure their gardens and outbuildings are secure. Leaving tools and gardening equipment lying around in your garden can attract thieves, as they are valuable and could also be used to break into your home.

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“Locking tools away in a shed or garage when you are not using them and making outbuilding as secure as possible, with strong locks or even an alarmed padlock, will keep your property safe. Dusk till dawn security lights in your garden will make your home even safer, along with locking windows, doors and garden gates and making sure your fences are in a good condition.”

These are some of the ways you can make your garden and outbuildings more secure:

Always lock your shed, preferably with two 'hasp and staple' locks (one near the top and one near the bottom of the door) or use or an alarmed padlock

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Secure your rear garden by locking entry gates with a padlock

Burglars can use garden tools to break in, so make sure you securely lock away any tools after use

Ensure boundary fences are secure and in good condition. Spiky plants along garden boundaries are good additional deterrents

Tools and gardening equipment should be visibly marked with your postcode and house number - this can deter thieves and help police identify the rightful owner

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Remember to lock your garage door securely. Metal ‘up and over’ doors can be secured with extra locks fitted either side and/or a floor-mounted locking ‘T’ bar with a closed shackle padlock. Wooden garage doors can be secured with two substantial ‘hasps and staple’ locks and closed shackle padlocks (your local DIY store can advise on the most secure options)

Join Neighbourhood Watch or Allotment Watch to help reduce crime in your local area

Make access to the rear of your property difficult, keep rear/side gates closed and locked ensure boundary walls/fences are in good repair

Wheelie bins secured so they cannot be moved or used as climbing aid

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Planting of defensive spiky plants under windows such as berberis, roses, pyracantha

Most bicycles are stolen from home so ensure your sheds, outbuildings and garages are secure. Consider installing ground anchors if you have a concrete floor. If not, look for security rated products specifically for wooden and metal sheds.

Take extra security precautions for storing expensive bikes, it is recommended that they are security marked and registered with

For more detailed security advice, please visit