Garde theft advice from Cleveland Police

How to deter garden crime

Some attractive plants can also be a deterrent to thieves. Prickly hedges might not be suitable in a home with young children but there is a wide variety of plants so check with the garden centre.

Whether you're a keen gardener or just the one who cuts the grass, be aware that your garden can be a target for thieves.

protect your garden from theft

Garden security tips

  • A shed, store or garage needs to be securely locked, just like your home. Use a strong padbolt, fitted using threaded bolts with washers or backing plates, not screws which can be loosened from the outside.
  • Fit locks to shed windows and think about fitting steel grilles behind the windows. Cover windows to make it difficult for a thief to see what's inside.
  • Most gardeners have expensive garden equipment or power tools. Whenever possible, disable them after use. Never leave a key in the ignition.
  • Fit metal rings and chains to secure equipment inside the shed. Fit a battery powered alarm (available at Police HQ, Kirkleatham, Redcar).
  • Check that your household insurance covers property kept in a shed or outbuilding.
  • Thieves often use tools left lying in the garden to break into a house. Spades, forks and ladders are all useful to an intruder.
  • Get into the habit of locking them away.
  • Mark your property using a DNA marking kit or your cycle using our cycle marking service.
  • Thieves are interested in attractive or antique planters or garden ornaments.
  • Mark them with your postcode.
  • Take photographs of anything that's particularly valuable - make it easier to trace it.
  • Growing between 12" to more than 5', varieties of berberis are very prickly as are pyracantha, mahonia, hollies, hawthorn and chaenomeles japonica. Riga rugosa makes a good hedge, with a great many thorns.
  • Keep fences and walls in good order and make them high enough to deter intruders - about 6' (1.8 metres).
  • Fences higher than 6'6" (2 metres) with trellis may need planning permission.
  • Front fences or hedges should be no more than 3' high so that your property is easily seen by passers by.
  • Prickly or thorny plants are useful near walls or fences.
  • Fit a padlock or bolt to all gates.
  • Lay a deep gravel path rather than slab or concrete so that anyone approaching the house will be heard.