Homeowners are being urged to check that their outdoor buildings are protected from thieves during the gloomy, cold mornings and long, dark nights.
Winter is ideal for savvy burglars looking to steal shed contents as daylight hours are short and there’s less likely to be anyone outdoors.
The team behind GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk have shared their best and most cost-effective tips and tricks for upping the security of garden sheds to deter thieves and criminals during the darkest months.
Here are their tips:
1. Choose the location carefully
Ideally, your shed should be positioned so that it cannot be seen from the street, but not completely out of sight so that it cannot be seen from the house. This should deter thieves from trying to break in.
2. Replace the lock
The basic lock that sheds usually come with can be easily bypassed. A hasp and a strong padlock will be a more secure and relatively inexpensive way to upgrade the security of your shed.
Whilst you’ll want the best lock for your shed, you don’t want to make it look as though you’ve got something in there to hide, so avoid attaching multiple padlocks at once.
3. Replace the door hinge
Your shed’s door is one of its weakest points. They’re usually only attached with short screws, so could easily be unscrewed or forced off. Toughen them up by replacing the screws with nuts and bolts and superglue the nut to the bolt on the inside of the door – this should deter criminals from trying to prise the door off your shed.
4. Anchor the shed
A brawny thief could easily lift one side of a small shed up to gain access to any treasures it may contain. To prevent this, anchor your shed to the ground with L brackets, or attach your shed to a garden wall.
You could also place breeze blocks inside to make it too heavy to lift. This will prevent your shed from blowing away on super windy days too!
5. Fit an alarm
Some thieves are seasoned professionals and will be able to bypass many of your security efforts with the right knowledge and tools, so opt for trying to scare them away with an alarm as well.
Place a motion sensor in the corner of the shed, along with a door sensor, and a siren will sound whenever an intruder is detected. A wireless alarm is an even better option, as it won’t need to be hooked up to the mains.
6. Obscure windows
Windows are one of the weakest point in a shed’s security, allowing a criminal to easily peer inside to assess whether your shed is worth breaking into, before breaking the glass or frame to do so.
If your shed is purely used for storage, then you don’t need windows at all and can block them out completely with stick-on, opaque security sheets.
If you need the natural light from the windows, consider installing some blinds or curtains and ensuring that they’re fully closed when you’re not in it.
7. Lock large items together
By locking your lawnmower, bike and hedge trimmer together, for example, you’ll be making it more awkward for burglars to take off with your belongings and this could put them off altogether – result!
8. Mark your belongings
If you’ve taken all the precautions listed above then the chances of someone breaking into your shed and stealing your belongings is really quite slim. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so should the unthinkable happen, you can improve your chances of being reunited with any stolen items by marking them with a security system. You could do this with something as simple as a UV pen that only shows up in UV light.
A spokesperson for GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk said: “The average person’s shed can house many pieces of expensive garden equipment like lawnmowers, hedge-trimmers, barbecues and bikes, whilst some are used as outdoor havens away from the confines of the bustling family home.
“Whatever its purpose, a garden shed often holds much monetary and sentimental value so it’s imperative to ensure it’s safe and secure – particularly during the colder months when you may not be outside as much to keep an eye on it.”