Today’s columnist: Inspector Jason Booth: Protecting your property

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My name is Inspector Jason Booth and I’m responsible for neighbourhood policing in the Sheffield South East area which includes Mosborough, Beighton and Woodhouse.

The summer months are a great time of year, longer days, better weather - touch wood - and the time of year when many of us go on holiday.

But the downside to this, is that our property can be more vulnerable during the months of July, August and September.

In Sheffield South East, we have seen an increase in the number of thefts from gardens, a trend which follows across the district.

We have had reports of a wide range of items stolen from rattan furniture, expensive pot plants to koi carp from a pond.

Your garden acts as a barrier around your home and is your first line of defence when it comes to intruders.

There are things that you can do to strengthen garden security and protect your property and valuables.

Extra attention should be given to passageways located at the side or rear of your home.

Strong, lockable, high gates could deter thieves attempting to gain access to your property.

Fencing and walls can provide extra protection if you fix trellis on the top. This will collapse if someone tries to climb over it and the noise caused can be enough to alert you or your neighbours and so deter a thief.

Using gravel to build paths on or around your property is a good way to make sure you are alerted by the noise when anyone approaches.

If you have expensive plants or trees, plant them where they can be seen from your home or neighbouring properties.

Don’t leave spare keys hidden in your garden, garage or shed.

If an intruder finds them and uses them to burgle your home, your insurance may be invalid.

Mark items if possible - usually with house number and postcode - and register them on them on www.immobilise.com/

Good lighting is an excellent way to deter intruders, particularly by fitting exterior lights with dusk-to-dawn sensors.

These are light sensitive and activate when it gets dark - they turn themselves off when it gets light.

Using low wattage bulbs provides a cheap and effective security measure for your garden.

The value and quantity of items we keep in garden sheds is often underestimated, think how you can secure sheds with improved locks, hinges and more secure window access.

It may be that you are offered garden furniture, large planters from an unknown individual or recognise some items as stolen.

If so, please contact us on 101 and get as much information from the seller as possible.

Information can also be passed anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

In an ideal world it would be nice to be able to enjoy our environment without having to be mindful of opportunist thieves or individuals looking to make money from stealing.

Sadly there are people out there who show disregard for the law and I urge you to take on some of this advice as we work together to reduce crime and catch those who are responsible.

* Inspector Jason Booth, Sheffield South East Neighbourhood Police

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