THIEVES will go on fishing expeditions this spring and summer – in victims’ garden sheds.
They will be looking for easy pickings so people are urged to beef up security on their sheds to foil the opportunist prowlers.
Police have given out advice under their ‘Shedache’ crime prevention campaign.
Fishing equipment, bicycles, power tools and lawn mowers are the top four items traditionally stolen from sheds and garages.
Many sheds are easy to get into, but simple crime prevention devices can thwart them.
To try and nip garden thefts in the bud, police have launched an information campaign and also distributed more than 8,000 packets of crime prevention seeds to gardeners and gardening organisations to reinforce the message.
Each packet has a message to highlight the problem and encourage people to do more to protect their property.
Security leaflets and posters will also be distributed through gardens centres and DIY stores.
The crime prevention tips include:
Make sure your shed is not falling apart after the winter months.
Consider installing a strong grille or heavy wire mesh around any windows to increase security.
Fit a quality lock, such as a closed shackle padlock, and bolt the fittings to the door with a steel panel fitted on the inside of the door.
Fit an energy-efficient dusk to dawn light.
Postcode items that you store in the shed and keep a record of any serial numbers.
Mark property whenever possible using a visible ink pen or paint to deter thieves
Make sure the shed is always locked and that any garden tools are put away safely inside.
Use a heavy duty chain to secure valuable items within a shed to make sure they are protected so thieves can’t get them even if they break in.
West Yorkshire Police crime reduction officer Det Insp Duncan Macnay said: “Experience shows us that this type of crime increases in the spring and summer months but a few precautions to secure outbuildings can really help put off opportunist thieves.
“Bicycles, power tools, lawnmowers and fishing equipment are among the items most commonly stolen each year and this equipment can cost hundreds of pounds so it is important residents do all they can to protect it.”
He warned that thieves who break into sheds could find tools they then use to break into the victim’s home as well.