Garden sheds are considered by many as an important part of our property but security is often neglected until an unwelcome visitor decides to break in.
Sheds can contain items and tools to the value of thousands of pounds.
An average road or mountain bike can cost between £500 to £1000 alone and are often stored in a relatively insecure shed.
Thieves are well aware of this and can actually make the shed their main target, even in preference over your home.
Thieves may also have a more sinister reason for targeting your shed.
They know that it will most likely contain tools. Although most will be looking to steal the tools to sell on, others will want to access them to actually aid in breaking into your main residence.
Professional burglars do not want to be caught travelling around with a bag full of house breaking tools and would much rather make use of yours.
The first step in shed security is its condition.
Is your shed in a condition where it is strong enough to withstand a blow to its door or wood panels?
Thieves will easily break through rotting wood panels or corroded door locks and hinges.
Replacement panels can be bought from the larger DIY stores in the UK for just a few pounds each. They are secured in place by small nails and it is a quick and easy job to replace them.
Although we want our garden and sheds to look attractive, consider planting some thorny shrubs or rose bushes around the shed.
Plant some under the windows of larger sheds to prevent easy access through them. It is also important to keep the shrubs and bushes neatly trimmed as we don’t want them to help provide cover for an intruder.
Sheds are not normally supplied with a decent locking mechanism.
Indeed, many are sold without any locks included at all. Purchase a decent padlock as soon as possible. If required, fit a padlock clasp (sometimes known as a hasp and staple) to the exterior that secures the shed door to the main body.
If your shed is supplied with a standard internal door lock, also fit an additional padlock. Many supplied internal key locks are of poor quality and are often supplied with standard keys that can be purchased by anyone!
Is your shed area well lit?
An unlit, dark area is exactly what thieves are hoping for. It gives them confidence that they can go about their business without being disturbed.
Garden security lights should be one of the first security steps taken in your general home security setup. However, these may not give adequate lighting to your shed area or be practical to install near the shed.
If you do not have a mains power source near the shed or do not wish to install an extension power supply from your home, consider a solar powered PIR (motion sensor) security light. Although not as bright as a mains powered security light, they should provide adequate lighting to deter a casual thief as well as help you gain access at night.
Although the door may be locked and secure, a determined thief may simply unscrew the door hinge screws and remove the door.
For sheds containing high value items, the actual door hinges can become the vulnerable point. Consider removing the vulnerable screws and fit coach bolts to secure the hinges in place instead. This will now make it impossible for a thief to remove the bolts and gain access.
One of the first things a thief will do when considering breaking into your shed is having a peek inside through a window.
Once they see something they like, they can become very determined to have it. Fit some curtains inside the shed to prevent this. They can easily be made from left over material without having to purchase any if preferred. It is also a good idea to fit a Vibration Sensor Alarm to the glass. These are fitted inside the shed and are stuck directly onto the window. They are designed to detect if the window is being struck and will sound a loud alarm should someone try.
Would you know if anything is missing from your shed? Make a list of valuable items.
This is not just for your knowledge but will be needed for insurance purposes should the shed be raided or destroyed by fire or similar. It is worth checking that sheds, as well as their contents, are covered by your home insurance policy.
Mark any valuable items to deter theft and aid in its recovery.
See our Property Marking page for more information.
Fit an alarm.
Although some home security systems will offer additional motion sensors for outbuildings, these can sometimes prove expensive to add.
The fitting of some additional security devices is highly recommended. The Garden Shed Alarm is a good example of a dedicated shed security device. It will detect entry through the door and sound an alarm.
The excellent Minder MA30 Motion Sensor Alarm is a very popular reliable alarm that will detect any movement within the shed or garage should a thief gain access.
Both these alarms are battery powered so should your mains power be turned off or fail, they will keep working. They are both ideal to work in conjunction with any other security system you may have.
Secure the perimeter around the shed.
Although most motion sensor alarms are designed for interior use, a Driveway Alarm uses a weatherproof sensor that can be mounted to protect the area approaching or around your shed. Should motion be detected the sensor will transmit a signal to the receiver in your home, alerting you to their presence.
Monitoring the area via cameras is always a good idea but can be expensive. If you do not wish to have the expense of installing a CCTV camera to monitor the shed, consider fitting a dummy or replica camera CCTV camera. Just the assumption of a monitored area will be enough to deter the casual thief.