Thieves are becoming a blooming nuisance for gardeners as they make off with valuable ornaments, furniture and pots growing in pots and hanging baskets.
In the past 12 months, around one in five gardeners have fallen victim to thieves, says one home insurance firm.
Front gardens are most likely targets for thieves, who steal plants and other garden items worth an average £72 each time they strike.
Janet Connor, managing director of More Than, said: “Thieves are casting their nets ever wider in the search for objects to steal. And as this research unfortunately shows, garden plants and trees are now firmly on the list.
“Cultivating a beautiful garden is by no means cheap, with many items, such as bay trees, costing £60 or more. All the hard work and money spent on creating a lovely outdoor space can be ruined overnight if the garden is an easy target for thieves.”
Bob Flowerdew, of BBC Gardeners‘ Question Time offers some tips on safeguarding gardens:
● Mark ornaments and pots with the gardener’s postcode
● Bolt or chain tubs and baskets to make them harder to steal – but determined thieves may still try bolt cutters
● Plant expensive trees and shrubs with netting under the soil – when the roots spread they are harder to dig or pull up
● Deter thieves with thorny or prickly plants around out-of-sight places in the garden that may provide access
Most home insurance covers theft from gardens – but the insurer may have some terms and conditions about security that need to be met before agreeing a pay out.