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£30m of goods stolen from outbuildings in past three years

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Since the beginning of 2018, more than £30m worth of goods have been stolen from garden sheds and outbuildings across England and Wales.

Research by Churchill Home Insurance found 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.

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.

Yet two thirds (67%) of people admit these buildings are easily accessible from outside their property and one in six (16%) don’t do anything to secure them.

Even those who don’t lock up their outbuildings store an average of £991 worth of items in them, meaning that a potential £5.8bn is being left unsecured outside the home.

The most broken into outbuildings are garages (50%), followed by sheds (37%) and bike sheds (8%). Properties with easy access to gardens such as semi-detached (31%), detached (22%) and end-of-terraces (16%) account for most outbuilding thefts.

Bikes were the most commonly stolen item from outbuildings, accounting for more than half (52%) of all stolen items reported to police forces. Tools and hardware accounted for 22% of thefts, followed by gardening equipment and plants (8%), electronics and appliances (7%) and raw materials (7%).

Pritpal Powar, head of Churchill Home Insurance, said: “This research shows just how easy it can be for burglars to steal goods from outbuildings. Many of us don’t give the same attention to the security of outbuildings as we do our main home, yet often store valuable goods there. These are great storage facilities, but we need to make sure they are not an easy target for burglars.

“Taking some simple steps will help deter burglars and these don’t need to be expensive security systems. Installing locks, removing valuables from sight and making sure the outbuilding is easily viewed or well-lit from your main residence will all contribute to making your home less of a target.”

Top tips to keep your outbuildings and sheds safe

  • Make sure your outbuilding is locked at all times, even while you are at home
  • Install movement detection lights
  • Remove high value items from view or black out any windows
  • Chain and padlock expensive items such as bikes to the ground or wall
  • Store smaller, high value items in a safe
  • Plant holly bushes, hawthorn or other prickly plants around the boundaries of your garden
  • Put gravel or stones on your garden paths to make it harder for burglars to be quiet