Thieves are threat to gardens as summertime starts

It said that garden theft increased by 63% during the summer months last year – with London the No1 one hotspot for claims.

And the items thieves look out for include furniture, tools, barbecues and garden ornaments.

Research showed that the cost of replacing stolen items also increased last year by 12% to £433.00 according to Halifax’s in-house claims data.

Senior claims manager for Halifax Home Insurance, Martyn Foulds, said: "It is important for homeowners to bear in mind the value of items outside the home as well as inside, as the collective cost of patio furniture, barbecues and children’s play equipment can soon add up.

"We’d advise people to check that their home insurance policy protects against theft from the garden and we’d also recommend making life as difficult as possible for the opportunist garden thief."

The following tips can help protect the home from would-be garden thieves:

* Don’t leave items of value such as tools, lawnmowers or bicycles outside in the garden – lock them away out of sight;

* Put bricks in the bottom of patio tubs to make them heavy and difficult to carry;

* Mark valuable items such as ornaments and furniture with your postcode so that if they do get stolen, police may be able to track down the rightful owner;

* Join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, or start one up if there isn’t one in your area;

* High walls, spiked fences and prickly hedges can make your garden less accessible to would-be

* Gravel on driveways and in gardens can help deter thieves as they can be heard approaching.

Homeowners are also advised to make sure their home insurance policy covers them should they fall prey to garden thieves.

Top ten UK garden theft hotspots:

1 London
2 Richmond & Twickenham
3 Grimsby
4 Ipswich
5 Hull & East Yorkshire
6 Slough
7 Bolton & Wigan
8 Kingston
9 Oxford
10 Sheffield

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