Watch out for warm weather crooks

POLICE are urging people to spring into action and stop the warm weather thieves.

The warmer months are said to cause a rise in opportunist thefts of items such as bicycles and tools.

Officers in Hartlepool say they have already seen a slight increase in these types of crimes and are now aiming to raise awareness of home and garden security.

PC Steve Davies, crime reduction officer for Hartlepool Police, said: “Although in general crime in Hartlepool continues to fall, we have seen a recent increase in certain types of crime which tends to occur with the arrival of spring time and the recent good weather.

“Crimes which we have seen increasing recently have included burglaries to sheds, garages and outhouses whereby pedal cycles, gardening equipment and tools have been targeted.

“We have also seen an increase in the theft of pedal cycles which have been left unattended and insecure in people’s gardens or outside of shops.

“I would urge people to remain vigilant and take measures that will reduce the risk of becoming a victim.”

The three main areas where people can increase security is said to be around their sheds, garages and gardens with the use of lighting, locks and prickly plants.

PC Davies says people should also try not to leave bicycles unattended, or to lock them to secure objects in busy places if that is not possible.

Anyone who wants further crime prevention advice can contact PC Davies on (01642) 302579.

Garden Security

•Side gates should be kept locked;

•Fencing should be well maintained. Boxed trellis fixed to the top of fencing deters climbing;

•Planting of spiky plants against a fence improves security;

•Don’t leave gardening tools out. They can be used to break into a shed or house;

Shed Security

•Use a good quality lock with a closed shackle and a hasp which does not leave fixings visible. Use bolts instead of screws;

•If there’s a window, cover it with a grill and use an old curtain to stop people looking inside;

•Attach hinges with bolts instead of screws and reinforce the area around the hinges on the inside of the shed;

•Fit a shed bar across the door which has an enclosed cover over the padlock to offer greater protection from the lock being attacked;

•Fit a shed alarm;

•Consider using dusk to dawn lighting;

•Use visible security markings;

•Valuable items such as pedal cycles can be fastened together with a cable to make them hard to remove.

Garage Security

•Additional locks can be fitted to the outside of the door and fitted into the brick work or concrete floor;

•Any side access doors to garages should be of the same security as the doors to your home;

•Consider extending your house alarm to the garage;

•Valuable items should be fastened together with a cable to make them difficult to move;

•Always keep the garage door locked even for the shortest time and keep the contents out of sight from any prying eyes.

Pedal Cycle Security

•Never leave them unattended and unlocked;

•If you have to leave them unattended, lock them to a fixed item such as metal railings or lamppost in an area which is busy with passing pedestrians;

•Never leave your bike outside in rear yards.