EXTRA police patrols were laid on this week after a spike in shed and garage burglaries.

The burglaries mainly took place in Ongar and Waltham Abbey, although they were also reported in Loughton.

Chief Inspector Ed Wells, head of neighbourhood policing in the district, said: “There are only very small numbers, but we’re talking about a particular concentration in the overall number of offences.

“We’ve had a bit of a rise in shed burglaries in the Ongar area.

“It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but it tends to be overnight and they tend to find an unsecured garden, look in the shed and get some power tools.”

He said 19 thefts of bikes, fishing poles and other equipment were recorded from sheds in Ongar between August 19 and September 4.

Only five burglaries were recorded there in August 2011, according to the website police.uk.

Ch Insp Wells added that there had also been a rise in tools being stolen from vans, mainly in car parks, in Waltham Abbey, Ongar and Loughton.

“This has quite a significant impact on the victim, so we’re trying to improve on that,” he added. “In the past week, we’ve had more patrols, so we’ve had fewer cases.”

There were 32 cases of tools being stolen from vehicles in Waltham Abbey, Ongar and Loughton between August 1 and September 27.

Last August, 35 total cases of all types of vehicle crime were recorded in the three towns, while 36 were recorded in September 2011.

To avoid being targeted by thieves, police recommend:

  • Fitting closed-shackle padlocks, which have very little of the closing mechanism exposed, to doors and gates,
  • Boarding over windows to sheds and outbuildings
  • Lining shed walls with plywood sheeting to make it harder for thieves to get through
  • Chaining tools through their handles to heavy items.

Have you had tools stolen from your shed or van? Call the Guardian on 07795 507440.

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