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Garden security

I’m very proud of my new allotment and we’re just starting to reap the benefits of all the hard work we’ve put in over the last 10 months. But I am absolutely convinced that some of my broad beans have disappeared: I’d left them to get even plumper the previous afternoon and when I went up to pick them the next day, they were gone.

So it didn’t surprise me to read that 2.5 million households in the UK have been the victim of garden crime, with the average total insurance claim for this standing at £208. These figures from Co-operative Insurance also show that the average cost associated with garden theft has risen by almost half since 2011.

The research lists the top 10 items at risk, and coming in at the top are plants, shrubs, trees, hanging baskets and turf (no mention of broad beans). This is followed by garden machinery and furniture, then pots, toys, sculptures, barbecues, chimenea, sports equipment and koi carp. It also shows that the peak time for garden-related insurance claims is in July and August, and it’s twice as likely to happen then than in February.

The Co-op offers some useful tips to protect your garden against crime:

  • Don’t advertise to thieves: keep valuable items out of sight, particularly during these longer lighter evenings.
  • Mark your items: tag them with your postcode using invisible ink. And take photos of expensive items to prove ownership to insurers.
  • Remove climbable items: move ladders and wheelie bins so they can’t be used by thieves.
  • Lock things up: secure sheds with a strong padlock; have strong hinges on doors; bolt gates, garages and outbuildings with good locks.
  • And finally: check your insurance. Be clear about what’s covered and check whether insurers would refuse to pay out if your items are left unlocked and outside.

But as for allotments, I think I’ll just have to take my tent up there and camp. My broad beans may be worth less than £208, but to me they’re priceless.

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