Belfast Telegraph

Keep garden spick and span to deter burglars over summer - police

Gardai are advising homeowners to do a spot of gardening to deter burglars this summer.

Keeping a well-maintained patch around the house gives the impression there is someone at home, they say.

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney, of the Garda Crime Prevention National Centre, said a tidy garden will also give criminals fewer places to hide.

Furthermore, some green-fingered planting of prickly bushes can create barriers to put off sticky-fingered thieves.

"We want people to be aware of how unsecured doors or windows create an opportunity for a burglar during the summer," he said.

"We are also encouraging homeowners to maintain gardens and prune trees and shrubs, so as to remove hiding places for burglars on our property.

"A tidy garden also creates the illusion of an occupied home and it improves visibility for the homeowner, or indeed the neighbour who might be looking after your home if you are away on holidays."

Latest figures show almost one in four home burglaries during the summer months involves entry through an unsecured door or window.

Most break-ins during the better weather occur late at night between midnight and 4am and in the afternoon between noon and 3pm.

Theft of gardening equipment rose by 23% in the summer last year compared to winter, while more small tools, bicycles and sports equipment is also stolen between June and September.

"The summer months are also a good time to think about defensive planting," said Mr Courtney.

Defensive planting is a barrier of prickly hedge along the boundary of a home or underneath a window for extra home security.

Recommended plants include mahonia, purple berberis, ulex Europeans, golden bamboo, firethorn and shrub roses.

Mr Courtney added: "Hedges and shrubs in the front garden should also be kept to a height of no more than three feet in order to avoid giving a burglar a screen behind which they can hide."

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