Keeping your outbuildings (sheds) or garage safe and secure
Many people don’t secure their outbuildings or garage in the same way they do their homes – often using an easy-to-break lock or padlock to protect valuable contents such as a car, bike or lawnmower. This week we conducted a site/building assessment and by far the most vulnerable areas were the outbuildings. During my police career, outbuilding thefts were a daily occurrence. Be it a planned theft or an opportunist thief who is merely passing an insecure outbuilding. In my opinion, victims of these crimes seem to think it won’t happen to them, but they couldn’t be further from the truth.
The top five most common items stolen from outbuilding: Bikes, mowers, sports equipment, power tools & garden tools
If possible: avoid storing high value items in poorly secured outbuildings
An opportunistic burglar will often attempt burglary on an outbuilding or garage first because they can often find ‘easy pickings’ to steal but in addition burglars use items found in outbuildings or the garden such as tools and ladders to break in to the main house.
Outbuilding security: First off, check your insurance covers the contents of your shed or outbuildings from theft and whether the insurance company has any specific security requirements.
Think like a thief: Take a look at your outbuilding and consider how you would break in. It’s worth having a good (ideally two) ‘closed shackle’ padlock on the door with no exposed screws or a 5 lever mortice lock. Pay attention to hinges, as these are sometimes easily removable. Avoid having windows if possible but If you do they are likely vulnerable points vulnerable so secure with wire mesh or grills
Alarm it: Consider fitting a battery-operated shed alarm and use it. They look low key, but they respond to movement or door contact with an extremely loud siren. Also consider CCTV and security lighting especially if there are valuable items stored in the outbuilding.
Lock it, hide it or mark it: Don’t give thieves the opportunity or the tools to commit break into your outbuild or garage
Although it might sound obvious, never leave your garage or outbuilding unlocked. And, never leave ladders outside or, if you have no alternative chain them up
Lock everything inside away securely. Tools can be locked inside a locker, a box or secured with a chain. Ideally securely fixed to a solid floor or structure to prevent easy removal
Always lock link doors between the garage and house
Secure your bike(s) to the ground or a lockable stand within a locked outbuilding. Visit ‘Sold Secure’ to search for ground anchors and other locks designed to fix to floors and walls
It’s always worth draping an old sheet/blanket over the top of mowers or bikes to keep them covered from view
If you have battery operated garden tools, store the batteries and chargers in the house away from your tools to make them less attractive to steal and less valuable to sell on
Property marking your items is advisable and some tools can be painted with your name or postcode. Forensic marking is also an option
If you need any further advice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02074 999 323.