Police in Ballymoney and Ballycastle are reminding people to make sure that sheds, garages and outhouses are secure at all times following a number of reports of thefts of lawnmowers and gardening equipment recently.
With the better weather, many homeowners will spend more time in their gardens and make use of garden furniture and equipment. However, this can often provide opportunities for thieves and police are encouraging the public to protect their property and ensure they have a safe and enjoyable summer by following a few simple steps:
Keep garages, sheds and outhouses secure at all times – burglars will take advantage of any opportunity to gain easy access so ensure that doors are solid enough not to be kicked in and fit strong closed shackle padlocks. Ensure that meshes or grilles are fitted to the windows and invest in an alarm.
Effective security also includes protecting vulnerable areas such as windows, fences, boundary walls and drainpipes and using well positioned external lighting to help keep intruders away.
Valuables such as lawnmowers, expensive toys and garden furniture should be marked with your postcode and check that your household insurance policy covers garden or shed equipment and find out if any minimum security standards apply.
Make sure that large items such as bicycles are chained together. It is much more difficult for a thief to carry away a lot of large heavy items. Ladders should be locked to a secure fixture in the shed or garage so they cannot be used to access upstairs windows.
Consider defensive planting as one way to use your garden to deter criminals - they do not like climbing through prickly plants and hedges and they know that a small item of ripped clothing or blood can help police identify them.
If you require any further crime prevention advice you can contact your crime prevention officer on the 101 non-emergency number.