ALLOTMENT owners are being warned to be on their guard after a rise in thefts.
Rural crime officers from West Mercia Police have been contacting allotment holders and are working with Redditch Borough Council to assess the current security arrangements.
The borough has a large number of allotments and police have been stepped up patrols around them, as well as offering crime prevention tips.
Among them are keeping sheds in good condition and locating them in a visible position, using high quality locks, doors and windows and, ideally, blocking off windows.
Tamper proof screws should be used or screw heads drilled out and property should be marked with serial numbers recorded.
Tools and other items of value can be registered at http://immobilise.com – the police’s national property register to aid recovery of any stolen items.
Perimeter fencing should be in good condition, be two metres high at least and form a solid barrier with no gaps, while gates should be securely locked and designed in a way that climbing them is made difficult.
Bins, composters, trees or bushes that can be used for climbing over fencing should not be near the perimeter and planting thorny bushes inside the fence should be considered.
Allotments should be well-lit to deter thieves, alarms can be fitted and clearly visible weather-proof signs should be put up alerting passers-by to the opening hours, rules, contact details, that all on-site property is security marked and information on any CCTV cameras
Equipment or tools not regularly used should also not be left on site.
Sgt Richard Field said “These crimes may seem minor to some but I am very aware of the impact this has on allotment holders as a lot of these power tools are expensive to replace and are often passed down through generations of families.
“West Mercia Police is committed to rural crime and our officers have been in contact with a large majority of those who have allotments and associations within the Redditch area to provide crime prevention advice and property marking equipment.”
The police are also working with Redditch Borough Council to review security measures at all the sites.
Email the rural crime officers on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.