At this time of year, everything in the garden should be rosy – but beware of green fingered thieves.

After a recent spate of thefts from gardens in the district, the Safer New Forest Partnership is urging householders to take extra steps to protect their outdoor property.

Now that hanging baskets, troughs and tubs are blooming with summer plants and garden ornaments and furniture is on show, opportunist thieves are on the lookout for the chance to steal anything that can be removed easily.

Previous summers have also seen the theft of barbecues, patio heaters and garden patio sets.

Already this year, the Waterside area of the New Forest has been hit by garden thieves who have stolen plants, hanging baskets and pots from the Blackfield area.

PC Alison Tilbury from the Neighbourhood Patrol Team asks residents to take measures to keep their gardens safe.

“We suggest using wire to secure hanging baskets and security marking plant pots. Another option is to paint your postcode on the pots and ornaments, also to move them into the rear garden and make sure gates are kept locked.”

  • To attach hanging baskets to their brackets, loop heavy gauge wire in and out of the basket and run it up one of the chains to the bracket where it can be wound round a few times before running it back down to the basket again.
  • Lockable hanging baskets are available from the internet, garden centres and DIY stores. These incorporate a single, central hanging rod that key locks into a special wall bracket
  • Security mark your garden property or take photographs of valuable items you don’t want to mark. Register your property for free on www.immobilise.com
  • Consider security lighting and CCTV for crime prevention.Cllr Jill Cleary, NFDC portfolio holder for Housing and Communities, said: “New Forest residents take great pride in their gardens and spend a lot of time and money in nurturing them. To prevent the heartache and loss that garden crime causes, I urge all our local gardeners to take these simple measures.”

Information about the work of the Safer New Forest Partnership can be found on www.communitysafety.newforest.gov.uk or contact Community Safety co-ordinator Stephanie Bennett on 023 8028 5588, email stephanie.bennett@nfdc.gov.uk