How can I protect my outbuildings / barn / greenhouse?

Many rural areas suffer more burglaries from outbuildings than from actual homes, and recorded crime figures show that thieves are far more likely to break into sheds and garages than houses.

It is vital you make it difficult for the criminal - and keeping them off your property need not be hard or expensive.

Conducting a simple survey of your outbuildings is a good start - if you think it is unsafe then a would-be thief would think so too. Starting from the outer boundary and working towards your house decide how easy it would be to gain access to your possessions and then act to put it right.

Here are some simple ideas that don't cost the earth but will make your outbuildings more secure:

If you have a door lock or window lock on your outbuilding, use it, don't leave doors and windows open even if you will only be away for a few minutes.

If you don't have a lock look at what type you could fit. In some cases a simple padlock and hasp correctly fitted to a door can deter the opportunist thief. Use a close coupled padlock for increased security.

Fit window locks or a grill to the inside of garage and shed windows.

Garage doors should be lockable or secured by padlocks. A simple method of security for up and over doors is to drill a hole in the top channel above the wheels and insert a padlock into the hole. This prevents the wheel moving above the padlock so keeping the door closed. Even better, drill a hole in each channel and use two padlocks. Alternatively, the up and over door can be secured by an outer bracket and floor eyelet bolted to the bottom of the door and secured by a padlock into the floor eyelet.

If you have an integral door between your home and garage. Consider this as an external door and secure it appropriately. Don't forget to keep it locked.

Consider external lighting, either dusk 'to dawn lighting or PIR lighting dependant on the location of the outbuilding.

Consider marking your valuable items with your postcode in a prominent position or by forensic marking of which there are several inexpensive choices available.

Consider placing smaller items in a secure cabinet within your shed or garage, or store them in your home. Do NOT store petrol or other fuels in your home.

Consider a shed alarm, an inexpensive item easily fitted.

Keep your keys secure. Do not leave any car or house keys in any shed or outbuilding.

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