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Layered Security for Sheds, Garages and Outbuildings

An increase in break-ins and thefts from sheds and outbuildings has prompted police forces to issue valuable crime prevention advice. In our latest post we highlight the benefits of layered security for homes including sheds, garages and outbuildings.

In 2023 police forces in England and Wales received almost 250,000 burglary reports. While this is around 0.81% lower than 2022 it represents a crime rate of 4.4 per 1000 people, down from 4.5 per 1000 people in 2022. Sadly, around one in ten people in the UK have had their sheds, garages or outbuildings broken into at some time in the past with the average value of items stolen being around £350. But many people have lost valuables worth far more than this average.

Commonly Stolen Items from Sheds

Police forces report that the most commonly stolen items from garden sheds are:

  • Bikes
  • Mowers
  • Sports Equipment
  • Power Tools
  • Garden Tools

And there are many other valuables, typically stored in outbuildings and sheds, that are attractive to criminals including:

  • Working equipment (such as building materials)
  • Garden decorations
  • Furniture
  • BBQs
  • Sporting equipment
  • Gym equipment
  • More…

As we have highlighted in previous posts, many people aren’t fully aware of the full value of what they store in their sheds which is often estimated to be in excess of £10K. And the cost of replacement, after a theft, can be a shock. This is why its always worthwhile keeping a basic inventory of exactly what’s stored in a shed, garage or outbuilding and making certain everything is covered by insurance.

Recent Shed-Crime Reports

The need for robust shed, garage and outbuilding security is clearly demonstrated by recent crime reports.

In Norfolk a number of sheds are reported to have been targeted over just one night and further sheds were subsequently burgled over several days. Thieves stole a lawnmower, tools and valuable building supplies.

A shed in Ludlow was burgled with thieves making off with valuable power tools including hedge cutters and a leaf blower. And in Richmond a quantity of valuable copper cable was recently stolen from a shed.

Bikes and motorcycles are favoured targets for thieves who know where valuable cycles are being stored. In one recent case thieves badly damaged a car to move it out of the way, enabling them to drill the locks on a garage to gain access to both a pushbike and motorcycle that were stored inside.

In another case thieves broke into a shed in Cumbria from which they stole two valuable mountain bikes. And in another case a specialised Rockhopper mountain bike was stolen from the shed where it was stored. In Dublin two bikes, a mountain bike and road bike valued at around 9000 Euros, were stolen from a charity cyclist’s shed.

Luckily, the police are sometimes able to return stolen bikes to their rightful owners. Officers investigating a shed burglary in the Gosport area recently recovered a stolen Carrera mountain bike and a 16 year old boy was arrested in connection with the theft.

These recent crime reports demonstrate how criminals are particularly interested in bikes and that sheds are very vulnerable to break-ins. This is why police forces encourage people to pay attention to shed security.

What is Layered Home Security?

Layered home security is all about implementing safety and security measures in layers, around a home, outbuilding and contents. Each layer involves a variety of overlapping security tactics that effectively bolster overall security.

If an intruder or burglar overcomes one layer there are still other security barriers they will need to breach in order to access the valuables they are seeking. These layers range from the outer, perimeter security of a property to the secure storage of specific items of value, such as bicycles, motorbikes and mowers stored in sheds.

Layered home security is far more effective than simply relying on one security solution or a collection of poorly integrated security tactics.

layered home security
Layered Home Security


Layers of Effective Home Security

Here’s a break down of six primary layers of home security.

Gates, Fencing and Perimeter Security: The first and outermost layer of physical home security is the perimeter. The perimeter of a home can vary enormously from shared occupancy buildings to isolated countryside cottages. Importantly, the fences, hedges, gates, shared entrances and perimeters should always be well maintained and secure enough to keep unwanted intruders out.

Home Security CCTV and Lighting: While CCTV systems have historically been considered expensive this is no longer the case. Today’s CCTV cameras are very affordable and easy to install. CCTV systems along with appropriate warning signage are known to act as powerful deterrents to would-be burglars.

Motion triggered security lighting is another highly effective yet easily implemented security precaution. Burglars like to work in the dark and will often avoid well illuminated properties.

Home Alarm Systems: Many homeowners like security alarm systems, but they should never be solely relied upon. Like CCTV cameras, home alarm systems and devices have become far more affordable than ever before and when used in combination with other layered security tactics they can significantly boost overall home security.

Secure Doors and Windows: Police forces throughout the UK regularly highlight how criminals gain access to homes primarily via doors and windows that have been left open or unlocked. Occupiers sadly make their homes vulnerable to intrusion by not closing and securely locking their doors and windows. Poorly maintained, weak doors and windows that aren’t always closed and locked, make properties very susceptible to break-ins.

High Security Locks and Deadbolts: Closing and locking doors and windows is a vital security measure but if the locks are weak and inadequate they can often be easily overcome by experienced house-breakers. Installing and using high quality, high security locks and deadbolts on all doors and windows can make a property far more impenetrable.

Secure Storage for Valuables: At the centre of the multilayered approach to home security are the valuables that need protection. These can be everything from vehicles and tools to jewellery, cash and even personal documents such as passports and birth certificates. Burglar and fireproof safes can be ideal for protecting smaller, precious valuables and documents, but tools, bikes, mowers and many more valuables are typically stored in sheds, garages and outbuildings.

Layered Security for Sheds, Garages and Outbuildings

As noted, sheds, garages and outbuildings are often favoured targets for criminals because they are recognised as easier to break into. Thieves also know these easily targeted structures are where they can find many valuables they can quickly resell such as tools and bikes.When layering-up security around a home its vitally important to pay particular attention to any external buildings or structures where valuables might be stored. Here are some tried and tested shed, garage and outbuilding security tactics that should be incorporated into your layered home security strategy.

Consider Your Shed Location: If an opportunist thief can’t see your shed from an adjacent road or pathway they are less likely to risk a break in. If you are considering the installation of a shed, or perhaps a bicycle storage container, think carefully about its location and try to put it somewhere it can’t be easily seen.

Bolster the Shed Construction: Its worth being aware that criminals have sometimes gained access to sheds via their rooftops. Sheds are often very simple, lightweight structures with roofs that simply sit on top of the walls, attached by just a few flimsy screws. The roof can potentially be easily lifted, providing direct access to the inside and this weakness is often overlooked by shed owners. Bolstering the robustness of a shed structure by adding brackets and ensuring the roof is very firmly attached to the shed walls is a valuable enhancement.

Ensure the Shed Can’t Be Moved or Lifted: Smaller garden sheds are very lightweight and determined thieves have been known to simply tip a shed on its side to quickly gain access to the contents. Its a good idea to make certain a shed is firmly anchored to a concrete base or attached to immovable anchor points if the shed is sat on the ground.

Secure and Screen Windows: Sheds and garages often have windows which can reveal exactly what’s inside. And these outbuilding windows are often far less secure than the windows on a house. Windows can be protected using external wooden or metal shutters, secured with a padlock. And visibility can be obscured using curtains or security film over the windows. Window security bars are another valuable window-security enhancement that help prevent unwanted intruders from gaining access. 

window security bars
Window Security Bars


Strengthen Door Security: Doors on sheds, garages and outbuildings are very vulnerable to attack. These doors can be far less secure than the doors into homes and thieves know they are often easy targets. This is why its worthwhile focusing on door security, taking precautions to make entrances as impenetrable as possible. Its always important to pay attention to the door hinges as well as the hasps, staples and locks.

The security of up-and-over garage doors can be significantly boosted with the installation of a Sold Secure approved Garage Defender. And the security of shed doors can be strengthened by using a shed door security bar. These are available from stock in various standard shed-door widths from 950mm up to 2000mm but any size is available on special order. These shed door bars are easy to install, highly effective and particularly useful in confined spaces due to their simple hook and eye mechanism. The tough, galvanised, 10mm thick, 40mm wide steel bar fits across the entire width of a door, protecting the door against attacks at both the opening and hinge sides.

long shed bar on door
Long Lockable Shed Door Bar


Conceal and Secure Shed Contents: The benefits of concealing the contents of a shed, garage or outbuilding, by obscuring windows, has already been mentioned. Ensuring specific items, stored in an outbuilding, are further secured is another valuable layer of security. Power tools, for example, should ideally be stored in locked tool chests or cabinets that can’t be removed.

Our Shed Shackle is an easily installed anchor point that works in standard wooden shed structures. And we offer a number of alternative high quality bolt-down or concrete-in wall and ground anchors that provide essential, immovable anchor points to which high value items can be attached to make them as secure as possible.

shed shackle
Shed Shackle Anchor Point


Valuables such as bicycles, motorcycles and mowers, stored inside outbuildings, should always be securely attached to immovable anchor points using high security chains, cables and padlocks - even when inside a locked shed or garage.

Motion Activated Security Lighting: Criminals like to work unseen so the installation of motion triggered security lighting around sheds and outbuildings, as part of a multilayered home security strategy, can be enough to scare them away.

Alarm Your Outbuildings: If a home alarm system is installed its worth including sheds and outbuildings, if possible. Alternatively, standalone shed alarms are another useful option.

Noisy Gravel Paths and Driveways: Thieves like to do their nefarious deeds both unseen and unheard. While motion triggered lighting can illuminate their activities the noise created by gravel paths and driveways is another powerful deterrent.

Ensure Outbuildings are Well Maintained: The wind and weather, as well as termites and other creatures, can have a detrimental impact on the robustness of outbuildings. Its always worthwhile routinely inspecting outbuilding structures, looking closely at any rust, rot or damage and replacing any damaged or failing components such as door and window hinges and locks.

For more information on Layered Security for Sheds, Garages and Outbuildings talk to Insight Security

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