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Places where you store tools, machinery and other valuable equipment offer easy pickings to thieves - especially when items such as lawnmowers are likely to be packed away until spring.
You can reduce the risk of having your property stolen by:
always storing tools and equipment in a locked place
disabling lawn mowers and other machinery when not in use and chaining items together to a solid anchor point
using closed shackle padlocks and installing alarms and security lights.
If your property is recovered after being stolen, you have more chance of getting it back if you have recorded some details (make, model, serial number and identifying marks) and have pictures of the items.
You can also:
register your valuables on Immobilise.com- the national secure property database
security-mark items with a UV pen or a forensic marking solution
keep hedges and fences well-maintained and gates locked
The thought of unexpected callers knocking at your door can be worrying to some - particularly older neighbours or family members.
While most people who call at your home will be genuine, occasionally people can try to trick their way into your home to steal your valuables and money. They are known as 'distraction burglars' or 'bogus callers'.
Are you expecting anyone?
Be cautious; people from water, gas and electric companies rarely visit without appointments. If there's a real emergency, police and fire-fighters are likely to be there.
On rare occasions, people may pose as members of the emergency services or armed forces to gain access to someone's home. If you're unsure, follow the tips below.
Top tips to protect yourself
Lock your back doors and windows before answering the front door – thieves often work in pairs, one distracting you at the front door while the other tries the back.
Use your spyhole and chain and ask who they are through the door first.
Check their identification, even if they have a pre-arranged appointment.
If you're not expecting them and they don’t have ID, don’t let them in.
If they leave you a contact number don’t use it as it may be fake. Find the company’s number in the phone book, on the internet or on a recent bill instead.
If you need to get something, close the door until you return.
If in doubt ask them to leave and come back at a more convenient time when a family member or friend can be with you.
Remember, you are never obliged to answer your door.