As I write this the sun is shining and soon I’ll be out enjoying the beautiful weather. There’s always a bit of gardening to do – even when you’re on top of it the weeds seem to spring back up overnight. Armed with a trowel, fork and collapsible garden waste carrier I’ll be out there on my hands and knees pulling out the nettles that seem to crop up when I blink. I’m lucky enough to have a small outbuilding to keep my gardening tools in, but with a shed there is always a security risk. Our freezer and tumble dryer won’t fit in the small kitchen, so the outbuilding is the perfect place. Just across a small yard from the back door these daily necessities are easily accessible, and there’s also plenty of storage space and room to keep tools.
Because I’m in and out of the shed regularly, keeping it locked can be a bit of a hassle. I must admit, when I’m home I often leave the shed unlocked in case I need to access it, especially so during the summer. I do make a point of locking it overnight and whenever I’m out, as it only takes a few minutes for someone to steal from it when I’m not there. You might think that worrying about the contents of the freezer and some gardening tools inherited from my parents is taking a precaution too far, but it’s not losing these items that’s the worry, it’s what someone might do with them.
In my shed, which is likely to be similar to the sheds of most people, there’s a ladder, a heavy shovel, spanners and other hand tools, a couple of saws and some wooden panels from old furniture that will come in useful one day. The danger is that a burglar might get their hands on these items before I get a chance to make that shelving unit, and they could use these to break into my house. Leaving my shed unlocked is a pretty big invitation to anyone to use the equipment I’ve given them access to, to steal even more things from me. The ladder could be used to access an upstairs window, which has been accidentally left ajar, and the shovel or any other heavy tools could be used to break the glass in the back door and let the burglars in. The hand tools are also sturdy enough to be used to break in, and even those wooden panels can be used to fashion a makeshift hop-up or to batter a way in. These stolen items can also be used to break into neighbouring properties.
Most of us aren’t burglars, so we don’t view the contents of our sheds as potentially useful for breaking and entering, and that’s where burglars have the upper hand – people don’t think about their garden tools as a security risk, so they often leave their sheds open and accessible for anyone. It’s for this reason that I always lock the shed when I am not in, and overnight when burglars operate under the cover of darkness. A sturdy padlock costs far less than replacing your garden tools or the contents of your home, so take this simple step and make it harder for anyone to burgle your home.