Garden theft is set to soar this summer as thieves make the most of lighter evenings and target everything from patio furniture to garden ornaments.
Research from Halifax home insurance reveals that garden theft increased by 52% during the summer months last year. It also warns that Britons are spending increasing amounts of money doing up their outdoor areas but are failing to adequately protect their garden property from thieves.
Over the past five years the average garden theft claim has increased by 27% from £305.00 to £387.00.
David Rochester, from Halifax home insurance, said: "It is important that people take measures to secure their property outside as well as indoors, and remember that equipment and furniture outside the home can add up.
“Items thieves typically look for include patio furniture, bicycles, garden ornaments and barbecues, so it is important to keep these items secured or locked away when not in use, and ensure your home insurance policy includes cover for garden theft."
Hi-tech tools, exotic plants and luxury furniture - not to mention the state-of-the-art barbecue - means the average household has £1,237 of goods in their garden, according to Lloyds TSB Insurance.
But with less than 50% of people checking their home insurance to ensure their garden contents are included, many households could be at risk of being left out of pocket should thieves strike this summer.
Top tips for deterring garden thieves:
1. Make sure garden sheds, gates, garages and outbuildings are securely locked at all times.
2. Put bricks in the bottom of patio tubs to make them harder for thieves to carry.
3. Mark valuable items such as ornaments and furniture with your postcode, and keep photographs of valuable garden items as a record in case anything is stolen or vandalised.
4. Join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, or start one up if there isn't one in your area.
5. Deter thieves by having high walls, spiked fences or prickly hedges.
6. Gravel on driveways and in gardens can help deter thieves as they can be heard approaching the garden.
7. Don't leave items of value such as tools, lawnmowers or bicycles outside in the garden – lock them away out of sight.