Lock up your sheds!

John Phillips PEOPLE are putting themselves at the mercy of thieves by buying expensive garden gear, and then not securing it in a locked shed. That s the warning from police this week as they launch a month-long burglary blitz. Two garden sheds were ransacked each day

John Phillips

PEOPLE are putting themselves at the mercy of thieves by buying expensive garden gear, and then not securing it in a locked shed.

That's the warning from police this week as they launch a month-long burglary blitz.

Two garden sheds were ransacked each day in Barking and Dagenham, last Easter, as fine weather encouraged people into their gardens.


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In the new initiative, an extra 15 officers will work round the clock to target the burglars, until the end of April.

Det Chief Insp Ellie O'Connor said that families unwittingly invited burglars in, by displaying up to �300 worth of garden equipment on their lawns, and then not securing their sheds.

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She added they also made their homes vulnerable by leaving windows open in good weather.

The latest crackdown, coinciding with National Burglary Day on Tuesday, comes after Mrs O'Connor announced bringing down the number of break-ins in Barking and Dagenham was "the number one priority".

Latest figures show residential burglary had rocketed by 56 per cent from 860 in 2007 to 1,349 in the 12 months to February.

Mrs O'Connor said: "As it's Easter this weekend lots of people tend to go out into their garden and if someone sees what they've got, and owners don't secure it in their shed, they may very well lose it."

She said residential burglary had gone down significantly in the wake of last month's Operation Disrupt, which saw police visit pawnbrokers, second-hand shops and use hi-tech bugs to trap burglars.

She added: "We're trying to protect people from becoming victims of burglary.

"Generally speaking, there's a couple of burglaries a day on sheds."

Police have also pledged to protect at-risk homes through a free handyman scheme, fitting them with window and door locks.

For more information, you can call your safer neighbourhood team on 0300 123 1212.

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