Operation Gnome is being launched by Herts Police as the first signs of spring start to appear in gardens and allotments across the county.
The new initiative is designed to help remind residents to keep their sheds and allotments secure at a time when burglars target gardens and outbuildings looking for power tools, bikes and other expensive items.
Typically, they also look for tools such as spades, garden forks and ladders, which can be used to help them break into homes.
Insp Paul Lawrence, from the county constabulary’s Crime Reduction Unit, said: “Every spring we see an increase in things stolen from gardens, sheds and garages, so we are launching Operation Gnome to make people think about protecting their property by making them aware of this issue and giving them crime prevention advice.
“During the spring we tend to get to work in our gardens and allotments, often leaving expensive tools lying around and leaving sheds and garages unlocked. Burglars are aware of this and target these outbuildings. Leaving tools lying around in the garden or in an insecure shed can also help a burglar to break into your home.
“If you use your shed or garage to store valuable equipment, like lawn mowers, power tools, bicycles or leisure equipment, don’t make it easy for burglars. Use good quality locks or even an alarmed padlock, keep garden gates locked and visibly mark items with your postcode and register them online.”
Herts police and crime commissioner David Lloyd added: “This new police initiative aims to raise awareness among residents that burglars will target sheds and outbuildings which tend to be less secure than homes, despite the fact that people often store some quite valuable items in them.
“Preventing crime is everybody’s business and I hope that gardeners and allotment holders will take on board the police advice and take as much care with the security of their sheds as they do their homes, helping to keep crime down in Hertfordshire.”