Can your shed & garage security weather the crime surge?

Garage Security

The alarm has been raised across the media to alert people about the expected Summer crime wave that will test garage security, as well as the security of other outbuildings including  sheds and garden home offices across the UK.

With the recent relaxing of lockdown restrictions, Farsight has already seen physical security incidents surge which is expected to increase further over the Summer period.   The latest target in the sights of criminal gangs and opportunist thieves is what most people don’t expect… Outbuildings, many of which are unprotected,  offer a treasure trove of goodies that are in high demand and deliver rich pickings for thieves.

YourMoney.com recently reported on research by Churchill Home Insurance, revealing that in the past three years, more than 70,000 cases of theft from outbuildings have been reported to police forces, the equivalent of 64 a day. The most broken into outbuildings are garages (50%), followed by sheds (37%) and bike sheds (8%).

In the past year alone, a fifth (20%) of all burglary claims were for theft of contents from outbuildings. This means that about £26,500 worth of claims for thefts from sheds, garages and outbuildings were made every day throughout 2020.

The average value of items stored in an outbuilding is £1,414, although one in 12 people (8%) store goods worth more than £5,000. It’s easy to see why over the past 3 years, thieves have stolen a whopping £30 million worth of goods from outbuildings across the UK.

Outbuilding are great storage places for things, but it is clear that doing more to protect them from thieves is a necessity…

Police warnings should prompt a rethink on appropriate garage security measures…

According to the Police, people don’t often secure their garage in the same way they do their homes, using flimsy locks or padlocks to protect the contents.  Burglars know these are weak points when it comes to security and see them as easy targets. In fact, according to North Yorkshire Police, recorded crime figures show that thieves are far more likely to break into sheds and garages than houses. They advise taking extra crime prevention measures to ramp up shed and garage security such as installing a monitored CCTV or alarm system and external lighting.

Police forces across the UK have issued warnings to alert people to the fact that garage security needs to be a priority with a surge in break-ins to these as well as sheds.

Let’s look at just some of these recent warnings:

> ‘Increase in Thefts from Sheds and Garages’ – information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police /  Neighbourhood Alert

> ‘Thefts from Sheds and Garages’ – warning issued by West Yorkshire PoliceCommunity Alert

> ‘Police issue warning after garage and shed break-ins’Lincolnshire PoliceGrantham Journal

> ‘Shed and garage burglary warning in Suffolk’Suffolk Police / East Anglian Daily Times

> ‘Patrols stepped up as shed and garage break-in spree continues’Nottinghamshire Police / Gedling Eye

> ‘Warning to secure garages and sheds after spate of break-ins’Avon and Somerset Police / ITV

… and the list goes on.

Is now a good time to rethink your garage security?

Most definitely. The most broken into outbuildings are garages and there’s a lot of them to choose from including yours…

New research from the RAC suggests that 5.7 million of the estimated 11 million garages across the country aren’t used to park cars in. So what is in them, if not cars, that is so attractive to thieves?

See the source image

Besides cars, the average Brit leaves DIY tools, decorating gear,  lawnmowers, ladders, gardening equipment like costly lawnmowers, gym & sports equipment including expensive golf clubs , bikes and scooters at the mercy of burglars as they plan their Summer outdoor activities and holidays.

During the Covid lockdown many focussed on their homes, accumulating new possessions and equipment which ultimately end up in the garage along with all the other stuff. So what is all this stuff stored in garages, and how attractive are they to opportunist thieves and criminal gangs?

To help answer this question, Roché Security – one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of security shutters and roller garage doors have shared the following infographic with us:

The most popular ‘Covid purchases’ were directed at improving our own back gardens: garden furniture and exercise bikes saw a surge in search of over 200% each, with kids play equipment, golf clubs and barbecues being almost as popular.  All of these items now find themselves tucked away in the same place our cars were meant to be.  Our garages have now become a bigger target than ever to burglars. In fact, Farsight has already seen crime rise between May and June and we are prepared for a further post-lockdown crime wave this Summer.

Jamie Pugh – Marketing Manager, Roché Security says this about the present need to strengthen garage security:

“While residential crime rates dropping considerably during 2020/2021’s lockdowns, specialists are predicting this to rise again as we all spend more time outside the home. This means there’s never been a better time for homeowners to review the security measures they have in place.

In the garage simple tweaks like adding a CCTV camera, checking any window locks and ensuring doors are in good condition could help ensure you hold on to those expensive golf clubs, tool kits and bikes.” 


Farsight’s top tips to help optimise your garage security

Whatever you keep in your garage, here are some tips from Farsight to help secure your garage security this Summer:

Don’t give thieves a place to hide

Keep boundary walls, fences or hedges low so intruders will be seen if they approach, police recommend the perfect height is under 1m.

Don’t let them see what you’ve got

Keep your garage door closed when you are not using it. An open garage let’s passers-by see what you’ve got inside which could make your garage a target for thieves.  Also, it only takes a minute for an opportunist thief to pinch something – and you’d be none the wiser until you look for the item. Tools, power tools, bikes etc. are very portable and gone be gone in seconds! It is also important to cover any garage windows with curtains, blinds or opaque film to stop potential thieves peeking inside.

Don’t leave your garage remote control on display in your car

Would you leave the keys to your house in the car for thieves to get their hands on? Garage remotes are the keys to your home and many people leave these clipped to their sun visor or on the dash of their cars.  Thieves know this. Consider concealing your garage remote or even better clipping them to your car keys with a chain.

Don’t let your garage give access to your home

Many garages have internal doors that give access to the home.  Make sure your garage doesn’t give unscrupulous burglars an easy way in – you could loose more than what’s in your garage.  Treat the internal garage doors with the same considerations you would your main access doors to protect entry to your home.  Also, make sure any back access doors to your garage are secure too  along with any windows and keep them locked -even when you are home.  A staggering two thirds of burglaries happen while people are home, so if doors are left unlocked, someone can be in and out in a jiffy!

Is your garage door up to the job?

The easiest way into a garage is through the door – does yours measure up? Consider these police recommendations:

  • Fit a garage door blocker on the outside of the door. This product bolts permanently to the floor, has a large ‘T’ bar shaped restrictor and a quality locking device.
  • Consider fitting a pair of garage door locks that are fitted either vertically or horizontally and can be locked either from the inside or outside of the garage.
  • Install dead bolts mounted one on each edge of the door inside the garage. When in use, the locks throw a bolt into the doorframe or the concrete floor of the garage.
  • Various good quality ‘up and over’ or ‘rolling’ deadlocking door handles can be purchased to replace any existing poor quality locks to give better security.

If your garage door is not up to the job, you should consider replacing it.  There are many types of garage door to consider, so get some advice from specialists like Roché Security for example.

Consider motion activated lighting

Security lighting can be an effective measure to deter would-be thieves eyeing up the content of your garage.  Security lighting is particularly effective when used in conjunction with other security measures such as CCTV, giving CCTV monitoring operators a good view of what is happening at the site so they can respond accordingly. There are many lighting options out there to suit any property and requirements, so get some advice from your security system installer or security lighting experts like Raytec for example.

Raise the alarm

Installing an alarm or extending your house alarm zones to include your garage can be an effective deterrent to raise the alarm if an intruder gets into your garage.   Choosing  professional alarm monitoring partner can give you the peace of mind that someone is watching over your belongings when you can’t – someone who will respond to your alarm without putting you or your neighbours at risk.

Alarm signalling has moved on greatly and it is also now possible to link a camera situated in your garage to your existing alarm system so that a raised alarm will not be a blind alert, but can be visually verified which will speed up a police response when it counts. See more about Farsight’s Remote Alarm Monitoring service here or read more about Alarm Visual Verification here.

Get peace of mind with monitored CCTV

The Guardian asked a panel of ex-thieves what security measures offered the best deterrence and CCTV was ‘Number One’ on their list. So for peace of mind that your outbuilding security is fully optimised, consider installing a CCTV system as a deterrent.  Choosing a Monitored CCTV service  delivers a proactive security measure that will give you the peace of mind that your valuables are protected by professionals who will notify both you and the police should an incident occur – in real time.

Farsight CCTV operators can also issue live audio warnings to deter intruders as soon as they enter your outdoor space, before the incident progresses.  See how CCTV monitoring works here.


cctv monitoring  Want Farsight to remotely monitor your garage security ? Lets Talk or call 0845 371 0101

Is it time to reconsider your shed security too?

It not only garage security that needs to be reconsidered. The Telegraph estimates that there are around 11.5 million domestic sheds in the UK – a higher concentration than anywhere else on Earth. Us Brits spend a whopping 60 million hours a week in them!

With so many sheds containing trimmers, lawn mowers, power tools, tool kits, garden furniture, expensive BBQs and the rest, it’s no wonder these unprotected honeypots are highly attractive to thieves and criminal gangs.

Many people assume that items in their sheds and gardens are covered by their household insurance cover, but it is worth checking with your insurer. With many Brits investing in their homes during lockdown, InYourArea highlight that despite so many people accumulating valuable items for their gardens, one in five (20%) don’t count these when working out the value of the contents in their home.

According to Confused.com, with so many Brits investing in their outdoor spaces during lockdown last year, British gardens are arguably more valuable now than ever before. In fact, one in 10 (11%) think their gardens holds more valuable items than their bedrooms!

But security for these areas is often overlooked, making them an easier target for thieves. Worryingly, more than a fifth (22%) of people don’t have any basic security in place for their gardens and outbuildings. Of those with gardens, only two in five (43%) have a padlock or secure lock on their gate, and only a third (34%) of those with garages keep it securely locked up.

Jessica Willock, home insurance expert at Confused.com comments,

“Last year, we spent a lot more time in our gardens than ever before. And because of this, people spent hundreds of pounds in making it a better space, from investing barbeques for socially distanced gatherings or creating a nice space to enjoy the summer weather.

But by investing in more expensive items, we’re putting ourselves at a higher risk of theft. While most items should be covered under our contents insurance, this isn’t always guaranteed. Always check the details!

Ultimately, keeping our gardens and sheds secure will be the most effective way in protecting our valuables.”


What about the rise of the office shed in the garden too?

More than a third of UK workers working from home in May this year, and with in anticipation of permanent working from home many people are splashing out on sheds or garden offices – sparking a new trend known as the ‘Shoffice’ or office in a shed.

5 Gorgeous Home Office Sheds To Take WFH to the Next Level

According to The Guardian, home working has driven massive demand for ‘shoffice’ space in UK gardens with sales of garden buildings rocketing by 500% between January and May, compared with a year earlier. Sales of sheds soared by more than 460%, according to the DIY and building supplies retailer Toolstation. However, the popularity of converting sheds and summerhouses into workspaces at home comes with risks…

Insurance Business Magazine published this warning from a leading insurer – Aviva:

“While many insurers cover home office equipment as standard under home contents policies and some are extending cover during the pandemic for people who need to work from home, cover may be restricted for items located outside the main property,” noted Sarah Applegate, head of risk at Aviva’s general insurance business in the UK.

Contents in outbuildings usually have an upper limit of around £2,500 for theft claims, so people should think carefully what they store in their outdoor rooms, particularly if they are using home office equipment.”

Portable tech devices kept in sheds are lucrative wins for unscrupulous thieves if they can get their hands on them.  It is important for those working from outbuildings such as these to remain vigilant in protecting expensive equipment, especially with many company devices holding private data on them too.

Whether a traditional shed or new space for working at home, our outdoor spaces hold valuable booty for thieves.  Let’s look at the most stolen items…

Most stolen items from sheds & outdoor spaces

According to research published by Confused.com these are the most stolen items outdoor spaces across the UK:

Tools 42%
Bikes 39%
Lawnmowers 23%
Working Equipment 23%
Garden Decorations 23%
Plants 23%
BBQs 21%
Furniture 21%
Sporting Equipment 18%
Gym Equipment 16%

What’s in your shed or garden? Is your garden an easy target for thieves? It may be time for you to reconsider how your valuables are protected ahead of the expected post-lockdown Summer crime wave that may be heading for a garden near you…. so here are some tips from Farsight to help optimise shed and garden security.


Farsight’s top tips for protecting valuables in sheds and outdoor spaces

Secure you garden perimeter

Keep side gates locked so thieves can’t easily sneak in to your garden.  Consider high side and rear boundary hedges/walls/fences measuring 1.8m high to avoid prying eyes and easy access. Also, you can consider defensive planting around perimeters to give additional defence, making access more difficult for unwanted intruders.

Add some crunch

Gravel pathways around your garden and shed can make it easier to hear intruder moving around your property and can act as a deterrent. Defensive planting  can also make things difficult for thieves and offer some deterrence from areas around your shed.

Secure your shed & your belongings

Inspect your shed’s structure first – repair any flimsy or rotten doors or weak spots including roofs and doors.  Cover any windows so thieves can’t see inside and use laminated glass which is harder to break.  Use coach screws on door hinges and on the hasp and latch which can’t easily be unscrewed and choose closed-shackle padlocks – preferably using two on your door.

Bring it in and lock up

Don’t let the prying eyes of would-be thieves see what’s in your shed, remember to put things away when your not using them. Close up and lock up when when your finished and don’t leave tools out that thieves can use to break-in to your shed or even your home.

Mark your belongings

Mark or etch your postcode or address onto valuable items to deter thieves from taking them and make it easier to identify recovered items. You can also use a UV pen.

Neighbourly ‘Curtain Twitching’

Whilst nobody wants a nosey neighbour, keeping a watchful eye on your neighbours’ outdoor spaces as well as your own, especially when someone is away or out of the house is beneficial. Noticing and haring information like seeing someone acting suspiciously can go along way in helping to protect your local area.  It is important to note however, that it can be dangerous to expect neighbours to challenge thieves and intruder incidents that are seen should be reported to police to respond to.

One of the things to look out for is ‘marking’.  Criminal scouts have been known to mark garages for thieves to target later on – for example with a chalk cross.

Shed some light on your garage

Consider adding motion activated security lighting to deter unwanted intruders in your garden by lighting up those potential hiding places and giving a better opportunity of intruders to be spotted.

Get an alarm deterrent or a monitored alarm service to protect your valuables

Alarms can be an effective deterrent against thieves.  There are many types of alarm available including battery operated shed alarms.  Even better, it is possible to extend the coverage of your house alarm to outbuilding too.  A professional alarm monitoring service can give you the peace of mind that someone is watching over your belongings when you can’t – someone who will respond to your alarm without putting you or your neighbours at risk.

Alarm signalling has moved on greatly and it is also now possible to link a camera situated in your outbuildings to your alarm system so that your alarm will not be a blind alert, but can be visually verified which will speed up a police response when it counts. See more about Farsight’s Remote Alarm Monitoring service here or read more about Alarm Visual Verification here.

Install a monitored CCTV system

The Guardian asked a panel of ex-thieves what security measures offered the best deterrence and CCTV was ‘Number One’ on their list. So for peace of mind that your outbuilding security is fully optimised, consider installing a CCTV system as a deterrent.  Choosing a Monitored CCTV service  delivers a proactive security measure that will give you the peace of mind that your valuables are protected by professionals who will notify both you and the police should an incident occur – in real time.

Farsight CCTV operators can also issue live audio warnings to deter intruders as soon as they enter your outdoor space, before the incident progresses.  See how CCTV monitoring works here.

Check your insurance

Contents insurance usually covers items stored in outbuilding, but it is important to clarify what your policy will actually cover, you may need additional cover for for more individual items.  It can also be inconvenient to bring in things like those expensive BBQs or outdoor furniture sets, so check whether your insurance policy covers items left outside.


cctv monitoring Want Farsight to remotely monitor your home security ? Lets Talk or call 0845 371 0101

How can Farsight help optimise your security?

Effective Alarm and CCTV monitoring has become a crucial element to consider when optimising security to protect premises, assets and people.

So, how does remote CCTV monitoring work?

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In our experience, combining CCTV monitoring with live, proactive audio warnings can be particularly effective in deterring security incidents before they progress. In fact, during 2020 Farsight CCTV alarm operators issued a mammoth 119,901 audio deterrent warnings and progressed almost 10,000 incidents to blue light services demonstrating a proactive security deterrent approach rather than a retrospective one.

As a leading UK based remote monitoring station, Farsight works with security systems installers, residential properties and business sites across the UK, to help protect their premises, assets and people with our range of security monitoring services.  Our services Include:

We can help to protect what’s yours from theft, fire or malicious damage… we’d love to see how we can work with you to optimise your security…contact us below: