Strangers in the Night

If you’ve had your plot for any great length of time you might already have been the unfortunate victim of theft. We don’t mean that your prize turnips have been snatched, but that your shed might have been broken into.

It’s more common than you might think for opportunist thieves to see allotments as an easy target. If your site is isolated or secluded it could be even more tempting for them to attempt a break in.

There are two obvious ways to reduce your risk. Secure your shed and don’t leave valuable items in it.

Nuts & Bolts

There is a school of thought that the more secure your shed looks, the more valuable the contents might be. But when you look at it from the thieves’ point of view, they want to steal as much as they can in as short a time as possible, so good security will put them off.

Some allotment sheds that we’ve seen are hardly able to support themselves due to age and rot and in this situation you’d be best off leaving as little in there as possible.

For the more sturdy shed you should think about a decent padlock on the door – try to get a closed-shackle type for extra security and buy a trusted brand.

Of course, the padlock isn’t much good if the hasp and staple it’s secured to are only fitted with short screws. If possible change these for coach bolts going through a back plate on the other side of the door, or through large washers.

You should do the same with the hinges on your door.

If your shed has a window you could either board it up or at least put a decent wire mesh over it on the inside of the shed.

Paint it Black

Next time you are on your plot take a few minutes to look at all the stuff in your shed. Do you leave power tools in there? Perhaps a strimmer or a cordless drill?

Much as it might gall you to do so you should paint or otherwise mark any valuable items to make them easily identifiable – add your postcode for example. One allotment we know of plastered their shared items in bright pink paint!

If you must leave valuable items in your shed secure them with a chain to something heavy or immovable. It doesn’t have to resemble Fort Knox but the harder you can make the thieves’ job the more likely they are to give up.

Sign of the Times

You could also put a sign on your shed door to the effect that nothing of value is stored in there or that all items are marked and identifiable.

You can record serial numbers of equipment for free at If your stolen items are recovered by the police they can then be returned to you.

It’s not difficult or expensive to dramatically reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a break-in on your plot so perhaps make it one of the items on your ‘to do’ list for the coming weekend.

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