Home owners advised to grow prickly bushes to stop burglars

Theft of garden furniture on the rise, say gardaí

‘To coincide with Bloom Festival in Dublin’s Phoenix Park gardaí have suggested people engage in so-called “defensive planting”. Photograph: Getty Images

‘To coincide with Bloom Festival in Dublin’s Phoenix Park gardaí have suggested people engage in so-called “defensive planting”. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Gardaí are advising people to plant prickly bushes in their front gardens to deter would-be burglars during the summer.

Members of the public have also been urged not to post holiday pictures on social media as it could alert criminals to their absence.

While fewer residential burglaries were recorded in the summer of 2016 compared to the winter period, theft of peripheral items including gardening equipment, sports equipment and bicycles tends to spike over June, July and August according to Garda statistics.

To coincide with Bloom Festival in Dublin’s Phoenix Park gardaí have suggested people engage in so-called “defensive planting”: placing a barrier of prickly hedges along the boundary of a home or underneath a window to provide an obstacle for intruders.

These hedges should be no taller than three feet so as not to provide a screen behind which burglars can manoeuvre, and gardaí have even published a list of recommended species including mahonia, purple berberis, ulex europeaus, golden bamboo, firethorn and shrub rose.

“The summer months are also a good time to think about defensive planting. 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,” said Sgt Kelvin Courtney.

“We are also encouraging homeowners to maintain gardens and prune trees and shrubs, so as to remove hiding places for burglars on their 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,” he added.

Gardening advice aside, Sgt Courtney encouraged homeowners to ensure that windows and doors are secured when absent, and that gardening and sports items are kept in a safe location out of sight.

“Regarding holiday plans, don’t advertise your itinerary on social media; post your holiday pictures when you return; and don’t tag people in photographs without their permission. You could be letting people know their house is vacant,” he said.

Almost €200,000 worth of gardening equipment was reported stolen during summer 2016, up 23 per cent compared to winter months, while the value of bicycles stolen jumped from €226,000 during winter to €278,000 during summer.

Over €32,000 worth of ride-on mowers were stolen in summer 2016, nearly twice the value of mowers which went missing during the winter.

New figures from An Garda Síochána show that break-ins are most likely to occur between midnight and 4am, and noon and 3pm.