Allotment Security

Following the recent break-ins on the site which have distressed us all, particularly those of us whose sheds were damaged and property stolen, we have put together the following tips about how to increase shed security. These were taken from a report prepared by the Leicestershire Police for the National Allotment Society.

With regard to sheds, “the best advice is for allotment holders to be disciplined in taking tools home at the end of the working day since, for example, an accessible spade can be used to break into the next shed.

Sheds are notoriously easy to break into because their construction is usually lightweight. Use the following precautions:

·       Fix hinges with anti-tamper screws, one screw minimum on each side of every fitting. Other screw heads can be lightly drilled to avoid being easily removed.

·       If hinge pins are used, one needs to be opposed to prevent the door being lifted.

·       Hasps should be installed to cover screw heads when held closed by the padlock.

·       Coach bolts can be used instead of screws with exposed drive slots.

·       A bolt receiver plate (the fitting into which the bolt slides) needs to be as strong as the rest of the bolt to resist leverage by the screwdriver favoured by intruders. Use coach bolts if necessary.

·       Use forensic marking fluid (e.g. Smartwater) to mark valuables. Each owner should have their own unique kit to mark both their allotment tools and property at home. Signage supplied with the kit can similarly be split between plot and home. A large warning sign needs to be put at each entrance to the allotments.

·       Battery-powered shed alarms, either lanyard/pull-pin operated or PIR sensing with a remote control fob.

·       Securing cables to fasten down tools, with or without battery-operated alarms.

·       Window vibration alarms

·       Polycarbonate windows or anti-shatter window film

Each of the precautions listed above has its place, but may have some degree of inconvenience or nuisance from false activations.

An alternative is not to lock sheds since the cost of repairing after a break-in can be higher than the value of contained tools. If this is the case, then the shed should not contain items of value.