Is your shed secure?

Over the last ten days there have been a number of shed burglaries with power tools and equipment being targeted. Villages affected include Cottenham, Waterbeach, Oakington, Histon, West Wratting, Over, Longstanton, and Trumpington. Sheds and outbuildings can be overlooked in terms of security measures but it is important to consider even if you only store garden spades etc. inside as these may be used to prise open a door or window in order to break into your property.

Security measures for sheds and gardens

Many of us have taken steps to improve the security of our home but we often forget about our sheds and outbuildings. Not only are their contents of interest to the potential burglar, garden tools make excellent implements to assist the burglar in gaining entry to your or your neighbours’ property. 60% of all burglaries are from the rear of the house.  When thinking about the security of your property, include the garden sheds and outbuildings. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of shed burglary.


Perimeter security the first line of defence. A strong secure fence or wall will make it more difficult for burglars to get into your back garden. It should be at least 1.8m and you should consider fitting trellis along the top. Trellis is an additional nuisance for an intruder and offers another deterrent. Similarly, thorny climbing plants will also act as a deterrent. Don’t forget to check your local planning regulations before erecting a fence or wall. A thick impenetrable hedge around your garden is just as good as a fence for keeping out intruders. A back garden hedge should be around 1.8m tall and ideally should be dense and prickly – such as pyracantha, hawthorn, or holly. Varieties of roses planted in strategic positions against a fence or wall will look beautiful when in flower and the thorns will deter the potential burglar. If you are laying a garden path consider using gravel or something similar. Walking on gravel is noisy and you’ll easily be able to hear someone coming. The garden gate should be of the same height as your fence or wall and be securely fixed and padlocked. In the front garden, try to keep your fencing and hedges low and keep the front garden open, neat and tidy. The fear of being seen is an important factor when the burglar considers a potential target property.

Key points to keeping your shed and garden secure

Ensure your shed is of sturdy construction and in a good state of repair. Most sheds are constructed with feather-edge or ship-lap timber fixed to framework constructed of 40x40mm timber.

Around the door frame and in particular around the area to which the locks and hinges are fitted – increase the strength of the framework with 50×75 timbers, depending on the existing structure. Add metal grilles to windows using non-returnable screws to secure the grilles in place and consider adding a net curtain to prevent an intruder viewing the contents of the shed. Strengthen the existing window frame as described above in order to fit the metal grille. Secure the door with two substantial padlocks, hasps and staples at an equal spacing, fixed with coach bolts. Use backing plates to re-enforce the wooden area around the locks. Bolt rather than screw hinges into the doorframe.

Consider installing an alarm system.  There are various types on the market, which would be suitable for a shed – reputable alarm company would be happy to advise you. There are also DIY products you can fit yourself, which will sound an alarm if movement is detected.

Install outside security lighting, ideally movement sensitive for the back and dusk to dawn at the front of the property.

Register and mark garden equipment such as lawn mowers and power tools. This makes stolen property easier to trace and it can be positively identified as yours. You can register items for FREE at

Personalising tools and equipment with a coding kit or simple paint pen will make them less appealing to thieves. Ensure that all tools and garden equipment are locked out of sight and preferably chained to a surface/ secured in a storage unit, within the shed.

Check that your household insurance policy covers theft from gardens and outbuildings.

Contact your local Crime Reduction Officer for more information and security advice via 101.



Crime Prevention Event – Orchard Park

Protect your home and reduce opportunist crime

Join us at a crime prevention event on:
Sunday 22 April
Orchard Park Community Centre, Central Avenue,
Cambridge, CB4 2EZ
1:00 – 3:00p.m.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary are holding a crime prevention event at Orchard Park Community Centre to highlight security improvements that residents can put in place to reduce their risk of crime.
Officers and police staff will be on hand to provide security advice and information.
Officers from the County Community Protection Team will be available to give advice regarding scams and online security.
There will be demonstrations of security products, plus there will be advice regarding property registration and coding.

There will be family activities and crafts, such as bird box painting and egg painting organised by the Community Council as part of their
April Fun Day which will be running from 1:00 – 4:00p.m. approx. at the venue.
Come along to find out more, and meet your local team.

Crime Prevention Event – Cottenham

Protect your home and reduce opportunist crime. Join us at a crime prevention evening on:

Tuesday 20 March

Cottenham Village College, High Street,


5:00 – 7:30p.m.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary are holding a crime prevention event at Cottenham Village College to highlight security improvements that residents can put in place to reduce their risk of crime.

Officers and police staff will be on hand to provide advice and information.

There will be a crime prevention talk at 6:00p.m.

There will be advice regarding property registration and coding, and a range of security devices will be on display for residents to try out.


Fly Tipping

I have been asked by the Environmental Agency to pass on the following information.

 The Environment Agency have recently responded to and are investigating two substantial illegal waste deposits on farmland located in Duxford and Hinxton in South Cambridgeshire.

 The fly tip in Duxford occurred on the evening/early hours of 21/22 December 2017.  On this occasion, 29 tonnes of mixed construction and demolition waste was tipped onto a concrete pad.

The Hinxton fly tip occurred on 22 February 2018 and we estimate there to have been 15 – 20 tonnes of mixed municipal waste tipped onto a concrete pad.

We believe that sites are being accessed due to their proximity to the M11 motorway and ease of access onto land.

We would urge farmers and land owners in the locality to take precautionary action and secure access to farmland and concrete pads, to prevent them being used in the large scale deposit of waste.  

Any further information or suspicious activity can be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111, the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or to your local Rural Crime Team via 101.



Home Security Event – Harston Village

Protect your home and reduce opportunist crime.
Join us at a crime prevention evening organised by the Police

Wednesday 21 February
5.00 – 7.30pm
The Pavilion at the Rec.
The Limes
CB22 7QT

Cambridgeshire Constabulary are holding a crime prevention event at Harston Pavilion to highlight security improvements that residents can put in place to reduce their risk of crime.
Officers and police staff will be on hand to provide advice and information.
There will be a crime prevention talk at 6:00p.m.
Security products will be available for sale at a discounted rate, plus there will be advice regarding property registration and coding.
Come along to find out more, and meet your local team.

√ crime prevention talk at 6pm
√ discuss local issues
√ purchase security products at cost price

We look forward to seeing you there.

What is it like to be a victim of vehicle crime?


A local resident speaks about their experience of vehicle crime to raise awareness around this kind of crime and how something as simple as a jacket left on a seat can make your car a target.


Can you start by giving me a brief outline of what happened?

I was going into town for dinner and parked on a busy road at around quarter past eight in the evening.  I came back around nine o’clock and didn’t realise anything was wrong at first.  It was only when I got back into the car that I saw the broken glass and realised the front passenger window had been smashed. My jacket and sports bag had been taken and when I looked into my glove compartment, I realised my satnav was also gone.


How did you leave your car?

I’m pretty careful about leaving things in my car.  I always leave my satnav in my glove compartment and I usually leave anything else in the boot of my car.  The only reason I didn’t this time is because I was parked very close to the car behind me and couldn’t open the boot.  I didn’t think it would matter too much as it was a busy road, I wasn’t going to be gone for long and it was still early.  I pushed my sports bag under the front seat and just left my jacket on the seat.  I didn’t think they’d be the kind of thing anyone would try and steal – there was nothing valuable in either of them.


Why do you think your car was targeted?

I think it was someone just walking down the street, saw the jacket, and took the opportunity given to them.  It’s possible they also realised that there was a satnav in the car as it leaves marks on the windscreen.  The street was very busy, but I suppose it just needs a few seconds when no-one is around.  Another car a little further down the road also had its window smashed.


What impact has this had on you?

It was completely unexpected and at the time I was quite shocked.  The damage to the window is covered by my insurance, but I still have to pay the excess on it.  Plus, I’ve lost two days work as I need my car to be able to commute.  I just bought my satnav and although it’s also covered by insurance, the excess means it isn’t worth claiming for.  More concerning is that my home address is on my satnav, so I’ve warned my housemates and have double checked our home security – just in case.  I also had some paperwork for my new job in my sports bag.  Luckily I hadn’t filled it in yet, so it didn’t have my bank details or national insurance number on it.  However, whoever took my bag now knows my name, home address, my job description, salary and where I work.  I always shred all personal documentation before I throw it away, so I am not too worried about identity fraud, but I am still concerned that someone has this information about me.


Do you have any advice for other people?

Don’t make the same mistake I did and assume that this is something that won’t happen to you.  I’ve lived in Cambridge for 15 years and never had this happen before.  It’s just bad luck – being in the wrong place at the wrong time – but it’s worth being aware that it’s always a possibility and taking a minute to make sure that your car is safe.



Follow the 6 steps below to minimise the risk of vehicle crime:

  • Remove all valuables from sight. Ideally take them with you, if not put them in the boot.  Don’t leave bags under seats.  Thieves know where to look and it’s a sign that there might be something valuable in it.
  • Remove signs of valuables being in your car. Hide charger cables for your phone or satnav as well as the cradles and the marks they leave.
  • Remove all jackets, clothing and bags. Even if you know nothing of value is inside, a thief doesn’t.
  • Check that you have locked your car properly by testing the door handle. We regularly receive reports of thefts from insecure vehicles.
  • Make your parking spaces secure. Report faulty streetlights. If you have a designated parking space consider installing CCTV or motion sensor lighting.
  • Protect your valuables. Marking your valuables with easily identifiable information and registering them on will make them easier to identify if they are stolen.