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Warning over threat from warm weather thieves

Published: 1 Apr 2014 09:001 comment

NEIGHBOURS across Berkshire are being warned to protect sheds and garages after figures revealed thefts shot up by 25% when the clocks went forward last year.

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A survey by Aviva Insurance uncovered the shock statistic, prompting a warning to homeowners to lock up garden furniture, tools and sports equipment.

The clocks went forward an hour on Sunday morning, heralding the start of British Summertime and lighter evenings – making it easier for thieves.

With residents keeping expensive items in their sheds and garages such as barbecues and lawnmowers – MoneySupermarket estimates the average cost of a theft is £850.

Children’s toys, bikes and garden tools are the items criminals are most likely to steal, while 42% of thefts involve power tools such as electric drills, planers and saws. Lock company Yale is urging people to fit padlocks which can withstand all weathers, and consider investing in anchors and cables, which can be looped through bike wheels or lawnmower handles to provide an extra level of protection.

Police advise residents to:

l Use tamper proof screws or coach bolts and a good quality pad bar or hasp and staple and close shackled padlock

l Bond any window glass in with mastic

l Ensure all tools and equipment are locked away when not in use

l High-quality locks should be used on doors. Windows can be fitted with a grille or chicken wire

l Install an alarm

l Post-code and indelibly mark all property such as lawnmowers, bikes, and tools using ultra-violet pens and forensic marking such as Selecta DNA or Smartwater or engravers

l Install security lighting as a deterrent, and plants such as thorny shrubs to act as a barrier.

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