Pro Landscaper gains insight from Andy Palmer, master locksmith at Grays Locksmiths, on securing landscaping tools and equipment on site and in.
Tool theft in the UK has increased by over 30 percent in the last full year, with tradespeople in Yorkshire and the Midlands particularly at risk. For those professionals that heavily rely on their tools and equipment to complete jobs, it’s important to take safety precautions.
There are many ways to ensure tools and material goods are kept safe, from extra lighting around to storing tools in a lock-tight storage box. While these tips will not guarantee important items are always safe, it will strongly help deter theft and vandalism.
Simple as it may be, the harder tools are to get to; the less likely thieves are to make off with them. It’s best to take tools in from vehicles overnight, as techniques like ‘peel and steal’ can leave even well-secured vans vulnerable.
Securing Tools on Site
Tools may need to be kept on site, whether it’s a private workspace, a storage facility, or a client’s shed, there are still many valuables to keep safe.
To start off, inspect the site for any weak points or problem areas – look for rotten roof slats, rotten areas of the door or window frames. Then patch them up or move on to a different location.
On all sites, bolts and hinges should be checked to ensure they are of a good enough quality. If they’re loose and exposed, they’ll be easy to unscrew. Replacing vulnerable-looking hinges with a new set that has a non-removable pin can be an effective security measure. Secure these with coach bolts, which have smooth heads so can’t be undone with a screwdriver.
It is imperative to not display the contents. At a basic level, use curtains or screens to obscure the view from the outside. Moving up the security scale and depending on the value of the contents of the shed, it could be advisable to secure the windows. This could be done with laminated (toughened) glass, or by fixing a purpose-made grille against the windows on the inside of the shed.
For an additional level of security, locking heavy items together with a chain or cable lock can make them even harder to access. A cordless blower chained to a lawnmower isn’t going to be the easiest thing to get away with!
Securing a Lockup
Garage doors often have a simple lock at the centre handle, which shouldn’t cause too many issues for experienced burglars. To keep lock ups safe, consider adding either a door bolt or padlock as another preventative method for would-be criminals. Even if it is just a deterrent.
Install Motion-Sensor Lights
Whilst the installation of motion-sensor lights is relatively low cost, they’re highly effective. Motion-sensor lights will light up both before and once the thief has entered the garage, notifying anyone nearby, keeping tools safe.
Organising tools and equipment ensures operators know where everything is and could help to identify whether something has been stolen.
Hidden from View
Not all garages or lockups have windows, but if they do, it could be worth frosting them, so passers-by can’t see what is kept in there.
Should kit need to be left on site, investing in some screens to conceal the equipment left there could be an effective thief deterrent.
Install an Alarm
Installing a burglar alarm – and setting it – will help to alert staff or people nearby, should any intruders attempt to break in. The noise alone should be enough to scare them off, keeping valuables safe.