Sheds are not just places to pot your seedlings and sharpen your secateurs. Increasingly we use them to store expensive bits of outdoor kit like power tools; gardening gadgets; bikes and sports equipment.
This makes them a target for thieves.
Research by consumer organisation Which? shows that nearly a third of their readers keep more than £2,000 worth of equipment in their sheds. Set against that, shed and outbuilding security is not as good as it could be. A survey by the Crime Prevention Website found that nearly 40% of sheds were not well secured.
As we move into summer and the days get longer, sheds become an even bigger target. Break-ins to sheds hit a peak over the summer period, making it even more important to ensure that you improve security on this often-overlooked area of the garden, or outside space.
The most commonly-stolen items
The five items that were most regularly reported to the Metropolitan Police as having been stolen from sheds were:
- Sporting equipment
- Power tools
- Garden equipment
There are things you can do to make your shed a less attractive target, and minimise the loss if the worst should happen.
Top shed security tips
Make sure your hinges are really sturdy, and consider fitting a hasp and staple door fastening secured with a padlock.
Shed windows can be easily broken, so check yours and - if they seem a bit flimsy - try putting wire mesh (or a metal grill) over them for additional security. You could add some curtains too, and draw them before you lock up so no-one can see what's inside.
Fit a PIR (motion sensor) light that will shine on anyone approaching at night (not only a great security measure, but very useful for you too!).
Think about where you site your shed. It might look better tucked away behind a big bush or tree, but that gives great cover to thieves too.
Look at fitting a shed alarm. It doesn't have to be expensive - there are a number of battery-operated alarms that react to movement and emit a loud siren.
If you have very valuable power or garden tools that need to be kept in the shed, think about chaining them together and securing them with a padlock. If it's bolted down, it's harder to steal.
You can mark your things with your postcode and/or name using paint, or a marker pen. There is also the option of forensically marking your goods and registering them for free with Immobilise.
Finally - it sounds obvious! - but don't leave phones and other valuables in the shed. According to Which?, 342 laptops, 387 computers and 447 phones were stolen from sheds and outbuildings between 2012-14 in the London area alone.
If you have insurance, it's important to check whether it covers your shed or outbuildings. Our Pick & Protect Home Insurance does cover items in your shed, but it's important to check the specifics, whoever you're insured with.