Residents in South Tyneside and Sunderland urged to be on their guard against seasonal criminals

Police are urging residents to ensure security measures are in place

Police are urging residents to ensure security measures are in place

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Homeowners across South Tyneside and Sunderland are being warned to be on their guard against seasonal criminals.

With the lighter nights and more people spending time outdoors, officers are urging residents to ensure security measures are in place for sheds and outbuildings.

Superintendent Sarah Pitt

Superintendent Sarah Pitt

Superintendent Sarah Pitt said: "People store expensive items in sheds and outbuildings - lawnmowers, garden furniture, even bikes - and it all adds up but people often don't realise and don't have adequate locks on the buildings which makes them easy targets for burglars.

"Security should really start at the garden gate and we would always advise people to think about what security measures they have, not just to protect their house but the whole of the property, including gardens, sheds and outbuildings.

"A few simple steps, such as securing door hinges with coach bolts or non-returnable screws, could prevent their shed from being targeted. Using a British Standard approved lock on shed doors and using a metal shed bar, all make a shed less appealing for burglars.

"We would always advise people to avoid storing valuable items in sheds and store them either inside the house or in a secure garage. However, if valuable items are going to be stored in sheds then it is always a good item to chain them to a strong anchor point or to each other - anything that will make it difficult for a burglar to steal them should they break in to the building."

The national property marking database Immobilise allows people to register valuable items on the site for free. Police have access to the database and if a lost or stolen item is recovered by police, officers can check the database to find out who it belongs to and return it to the owner.

Supt Pitt added: "Registering valuable items on immobilise increases the chances of it being returned to the owner as we can easily identify who it belongs to, not only that if we find someone else in possession of the property we have clear evidence it does not belong to them."

For more details and to register items visit www.immobilise.co.uk

For further crime prevention advice visit the Northumbria Police website www.northumbria.police.uk To find out more about policing across Sunderland and South Tyneside follow @npsunderland @npsouthtyneside on twitter or visit Northumbria Police on facebook.