Garden Crime

Garden Crime

Tips to nip garden crime in the bud

Garden crime is an unfortunate reality.  Although many people take steps to protect their homes and the property inside them, they leave valuable equipment in gardens and unsecured sheds, providing easy pickings for opportunist thieves.

 Power tools, mowers, garden tools, mountain bikes and golf clubs are just some of the expensive equipment left in sheds that are not strong or secure enough to protect them from thieves. To make matters worse, these stolen items could be used by the intruder to break into your house.

Effective garden security covers everything from the boundary fences and gates to the valuables stored inside your shed. Follow the tips through the leaflet to find out how you can ‘weed out’ the garden thieves.

Let there be light

Well positioned external lighting is a great way of keeping intruders at bay and can be purchased from most large DIY stores.

Protecting your boundaries

The boundaries of your property are your first line of defence against burglars. Strong gates, fences and walls which are kept in good repair can deter intruders from getting to the back and sides of your property.

Make sure:

  • Rear garden fences are high enough to make climbing them difficult. A trellis can be used to add additional height.
  • Side gates are positioned as close to the front of the house as possible. Thieves will be put off by the fact that they are in full view of the neighbours.
  • Gates are kept locked at all times.

Defensive Planting: Nature’s way of beating the burglar.

Everyone enjoys having a well kept, attractive garden and there’s no reason why upping the security in your garden should mean otherwise.

‘Defensive Planting’ is the term used to describe the way you can use certain prickly plants, bushes and shrubs to deter burglars.

This green-leafed security measure is not meant to replace, but to complement other security measures, such as lighting, locks and alarms.

Grow your own security: A few examples


Has sharp spine-like prickles, reaches 6ft, good for hedging and growing by walls.

Rosa Rugosa ‘Rubra’

A flowering shrub with densely prickled stems, can reach 6ft, excellent as an impenetrable hedge.


A vigorous evergreen shrub with white flowers in May, followed by orange or red berries. Great for hedging, growing under windows or around doorways.


Usually grown as a small tree or large bush, can reach up to 50ft, spiny, glossy dark green leafs all year round, excellent hedging plant.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Hawthorn, Japonica and Acanthus are just a few other examples. Ask for advice at your local garden centre.

Location, location, location

Think about using defensive planting around vulnerable areas such as:

  • Windows
  • Fences
  • Boundary walls
  • Drainpipes

Don’t give thieves ‘Shedloads’ of opportunities!

Most garden sheds are not designed for safe storage. Ideally, expensive items such as power tools, mowers, garden tools, bicycles and golf clubs should not be stored in them.

However, if you have no alternative, here are some shed security tips:

  • Keep your shed in good condition.
  • Fit a closed shackle padlock to the door. Fittings should be bolted through the door and any screws concealed.
  • Fit grilles or mesh to the windows.
  • Invest in an alarm.

Once you have improved the physical security of your shed, it is important to make everything inside it secure. Tools and equipment could be used to force entry into your home, causing you even more expense, hassle and misery.

Make sure:

  • 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 all at once.
  • Ladders are locked to a secure fixture in the shed or garage so they cannot be used to reach top floor windows of your house.
  • Your valuables should be marked with your postcode.


Household insurance policies should be checked to ensure they cover garden and shed equipment and whether or not any minimum security standards apply.

Top tips for a safer garden

  • Gates, fences and walls should be kept in good repair to stop intruders getting in.
  • Grow prickly plants close to vulnerable areas such as windows, fences, boundary walls and drainpipes.
  • Don’t leave expensive equipment like garden tools, mowers, mountain bikes and power tools in the shed.
  • If you have nowhere else to store valuable equipment, take measures to secure your shed.
  • Don’t leave ladders and tools lying around in your garden - these could be used to break into your home.
  • Mark your garden tools and equipment with your postcode.

Most garden centres and DIY stores will be able to provide you with advice on plants and products available to help secure your garden and outbuildings.

In an emergency or to report a crime in progress contact the police on 999. To report information and suspicious activity contact the nonemergency Nottinghamshire Police number 101.

Community Safety
tel: 0115 917 3744
Nottinghamshire Police
tel: 101