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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Keeping Your Allotment Secure

For most people that have an allotment its a fact of life that sooner or later you would be the victim of a thief or vandals. However there are lots of ways to reduce the risk. If you are fortunate in having a well funded allotment committee then security fencing around the site will drastically reduce the risks. But what else can you do to secure your own plot?

Keep an Eye out
Looking out for strangers or unusual visitors, thieves often go to case the joint before heading back to take their ill-gotten gains. If all allotment holders keep an eye out for people they don't know and go over and talk to them this can reduce the risks. If you see unaccompanied children then checking who they are will hopefully make them think twice and leave the site. Remember to be polite as that potential thief may just be the child of another plot holder.

Report it!
If something does happen, always remember to report it to the police. Whilst it may not help you get your items back it will mean there is a log and hopefully the police will check by more frequently which will reduce future problems. If you dont have a scheme set up already then approach the committee to set up an Allotment Watch scheme on your site.

Keep the Gate locked
Whilst it can be easier to leave the gate open to come and go, remember to keep the entrance secure and lock up after you go in or out. There is not point in making it easy for a quick opportunist thief.

Secure your Shed and Valuables.
Garden sheds are generally not that robust, and a determined thief can get in. Dont tempt them by leaving expensive tools on site, take them home. Make sure you have good locks on the door - more than one, its best to be able to lock it at the top, middle and bottom to make it harder to force the door open. Use a good quality padlock and fittings. If you have a window put trellis or a grill over it, to prevent access through the window.

Consider a battery operated shed alarm, these are easy to install and if your shed is accessed will hopefully make any thief think twice. Adding a sign to say no valuables are kept in the shed may make someone think twice.

Planting prickly bushes round the shed makes it harder to access other then at the door.

One approach that some people take is to leave nothing of value and then leave the door unlocked. Thus reducing the risk of vandalism, but you will need to take your tools with you each time you visit.

Marking your equipment
Adding your postcode and surname to all tools helps reduce the chance of them being sold on. If you have wooden handled tools such as a spade then branding them (a soldering iron is great for this) make it very difficult to remove and much harder to sell at a car boot sale.

Plant to avoid the opportunist

There is nothing worse than getting to your site and discover your produce has gone. Its hard to prevent a determined thief but by reducing the viability of tempting plants you can reduce the risk. Planting beans or peas on wigwams on the edge of the plot reduces how easy it is to see everything else. Or planting thorny current bushes in between things may also make them think twice.

Overall the benefits of allotments outweighs the negatives, but by thinking ahead you can minimise the risks you face.

Happy growing!
DG

This article was brought to you in association with Moore Fencing who provide security fencing in a range of designs to meet you individual needs

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