Laid back summer days cost Brits £1.5bn in garden thefts

A fifth (17%) of Brits have had items stolen from their garden, with one in three (31%) claiming they’ve been burgled twice or more in the past five years, according to a survey by Co-op Insurance.

The study, which was conducted among 2,000 homeowners with gardens in June 2018 on behalf of Co-op by Atomik Research, found that barbecues are most commonly stolen from gardens (27%), followed by garden furniture (21%), and garden pots (21%).

But over a quarter (27%) of respondents admit to leaving things outside in the garden everyday over the summer months, with one in 10 (12%) leaving items such as lawn mowers outside.

The regions where people are most likely to leave items out in the garden all year long are Wales (74%), Yorkshire and the Humber (73%), and London (66%).

The most commonly stolen items from the garden are:

  1. Barbecues (27%)
  2. Garden furniture (21%)
  3. Garden pots (20%)
  4. Plants/shrubs/trees/hanging baskets (17%)
  5. Garden machinery e.g. lawn mowers (14%)

The most popular items to leave outside in the garden are:

  1. Garden pots (60%)
  2. Garden furniture (53%)
  3. Patio furniture (42%)
  4. Ornamental lighting eg fairy lights, solar lights, spotlights (33%)
  5. Barbecues (26%)

The report also reveals the most unusual items stolen from gardens, with pond life (eg Koi Carp), bags of coal, and garden gates topping the list, as well as garden gnomes going awol.

In addition, the research shows that homeowners are becoming relaxed with basic home security. One in five (22%) leave their windows open and a fifth (20%) hide home deliveries in their gardens.

In terms of the worst culprits for risking home security, 80% of 25-34 year olds admitted to behaviour such as leaving windows open and leaving items that could be used to break windows outside. This compares with just 38% of over-65s.

Co-op Insurance said those who are victims to summertime stealing are, on average, paying £356 to replace stolen items, with overall figures showing that garden thefts are costing the UK a total average of £1.5 billion. It is urging homeowners to check that their gardens are secure, and their contents are insured, to avoid any opportunistic burglaries this summer.

Co-op head of home insurance Caroline Hunter said: “With the summer weather set to continue over the next few weeks, we’re all taking advantage of our gardens and outside spaces. Whilst we should have fun in the sun, once we’ve finished with any outdoor activities, it’s important to remember that opportunistic burglaries do happen, and items left in gardens over the summer could be targeted.

“Make sure any items of values are stored away, gates and windows are locked, and any items that could be used for a break-in (such as ladders, or heavy items that could be used to smash windows) are put away or moved out of sight.”

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