Unfortunately, though our houses may be safe from the risk of theft, our gardens are a much easier target. Nottinghamshire has seen items such as aluminium garden planters and garden ornaments stolen from gardens, and there is a risk of even more valuable items being stolen.
It is best to evaluate your garden for its risk of theft to prevent the loss of garden valuables. Below is some guidance on how to evaluate your garden’s risk, and to reduce the risk of your garden being robbed.
What items of value do you have in your garden?
Over half of all households in the United Kingdom have had items stolen from their gardens. The average claim for a UK household for a garden theft is £208, with around £517 million paid out from insurance claims. With gardens being seen as an extension of many people’s homes, more money is being spent on gardens and garden embellishments, which tempts thieves.
Though it might seem unlikely, garden plants such as trees and shrubs, hanging baskets, and even turf is the most likely to be stolen. Second most at risk of theft is garden machinery, such as lawn mowers and other motorised gardening equipment, as well as hedge cutters and other sharp tools.
Third at most risk are garden furniture and pots, then children’s playhouses and other garden toys such as slides or swings. Sculptures are also likely to be lifted, as are barbecue sets and even chimeneas. Sporting equipment, such as golf clubs, tennis rackets, cricket sets and fishing tackle are all likely candidates for theft. Last but not least, exotic fish such as Koi carp have been known to be stolen from garden ponds!
If you are looking to sell your home, or are thinking of moving, consider taking steps towards making your property’s garden more secure as an inducement to potential buyers.
How can you reduce your risk of theft?
The first step to reducing your risk of theft from your garden is to ensure that valuable items that are easy to carry off – such as sporting equipment – is kept under lock and key, preferably indoors rather than in an outdoor structure.
Take adequate security measures for your home’s garden. Put up sturdy fencing, ensure gates are always locked, and keep an eye out for any unusual activity. Sheds and garages should be securely padlocked at all times. When items are taken out and used in the garden, they should be carefully put back into a secure location once they have been used to avoid valuable items being stolen.
Make sure that all entrances to your garden are kept closed and locked. Make sure that you remove easy access points to your garden. Things like trellises or ladders leaning against fences can be an easy point of access for thieves, so make sure they are put away.
If you can, mark your items so that they are easily identifiable to the police. Invisible ink can be used to put your postcode on items such as garden furniture, pots and machinery to help the police find your items if they are sold on. You should also take photographs of your items of value so that you can prove ownership if you have insurance.
You should insure your garden items, so if a theft does take place, you are already protected from the potential fallout. Even with the best preventative measures, things can happen, and having home insurance that covers your garden is the best precaution. The Royal Horticultural Society has warned that renters are particularly left bereft when items are stolen from their gardens, as they rarely take out home insurance. Make sure that you are covered, and if the worst does happen, you can rest easy knowing your items can be replaced.