Council springs into action with crime campaign

PCSO Laura Coxhead with the shed alarm
PCSO Laura Coxhead with the shed alarm

A DISTRICT crime campaign has been relaunched warning Derbyshire Dales residents to be on their guard against opportunist thieves who target garden sheds in the spring and summer.

Operation Rascal is being promoted by the Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership with the aim of keeping burglaries at the current low rate and maintaining the Dales’ status as one of the safest places in England.

Recent warm weather has prompted the partnership, which includes Derbyshire Dales District Council, the police and the county council, to remind local people that they can prevent shed burglaries by buying discounted shed alarms at just £4 a time at police stations throughout the Dales.

Free warning signs are also available from Derbyshire Dales District Council’s Matlock Town Hall headquarters and from Dales police stations.

Last summer a mobile police unit toured Derbyshire Dales towns and villages to warn local people not to make it easy for opportunist thieves to target garden sheds.

A partnership team including Derbyshire Dales District Council’s crime and disorder reduction officer Karen Cooper helped residents fit safety equipment and offered advice about protecting their properties from opportunist thieves.

The mobile police unit will visit Grindleford on April 2 and on April 14 moves on to Shirley (outside the village pub) from 1 to 1.50pm, Brailsford Institute 2 to 2.50pm, Hulland Ward next to the fuel station 3.10 to 4pm and Kniveton close to the school 4.15 to 5pm.

Derbyshire Dales District Council leader, Cllr Lewis Rose OBE, who is also chairman of the Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership said: “Home Office figures confirm the Derbyshire Dales remains among the safest places in England, and partnership campaigns such as Operation Rascal contribute to this encouraging statistic, making the Dales such a great place to live, work and visit.”

Derbyshire Dales Partnership Sergeant Garry Staples said: “In the spring and summer wooden sheds can become a target for thieves and the main aim of Operation Rascal is to encourage local people to take steps to protect expensive items such as mountain bikes, motorbikes, golf clubs, DIY power tools, lawn mowers and other garden equipment.

“The shed alarms made available as part of Operation Rascal are a great deterrent. They usually retail at around £8 but are being sold for just £4 thanks to a subsidy by the Community Safety Partnership.”

In addition to fitting a shed alarm and door chimes, local people are urged to keep their sheds safe by following these simple suggestions:

Protect the boundary and access of your garden with fences, walls and lockable gates.

-Locate your shed in your garden so you can clearly see the door and window of the shed from your house.

-Use a good quality padlock/hasp or mortice lock on the door. If using a hasp, ensure the screws are covered and cannot be accessed by a screw driver.

-Ensure the hinges cannot be easily removed.

-Make sure the doors and panels of the shed are strong enough not to be kicked in or forced.

-Cover the windows and fit Perspex or laminated glass which will offer good protection.

-Cover the shed with a security light.

-Use a ground or wall anchor to secure your bike or other valuables in the shed.

-Lock valuables together to prevent them being easily removed.

-Visibly and permanently mark your property. It helps identify it as yours and is less desirable for a thief.

For further advice contact your local Safer Neighbourhood policing team on 101.