In the last few months, garden machinery has become an increasingly popular target for criminals. With recent press reports indicating a rise in theft cases, it has never been more essential to protect your valuable garden equipment.

Garden machinery covers a range of items, from mowers and landscaping equipment, to small tractors and off-road vehicles such as quad bikes and other ATVs. Smaller and more portable items such as petrol trimmers are particularly vulnerable to theft. Below, we have provided key advice to help you protect your items from theft and other hazards.

Theft

  • Secure equipment inside a locked building when not in use. Ensure that doors are fitted with locks rated either to British Standard or Sold Secure Gold level and that accessible windows are fitted with similar locks
  • Consider extending your home alarm system to any outbuildings used to store your machinery. Bear in mind that any wildlife entering the outdoor buildings can cause false alarms
  • Secure any keys needed to operate the machine in a safe place, ideally not in the same building as the item, but if this in impractical, use of a key safe or similar should be considered. This should be secured to a solid part of the building and hidden from general view
  • If the machine is fitted with a battery, consider removing this when the equipment is in storage and not being used frequently
  • Store items that might be useful to an intruder (eg objects that could aid removal of equipment or exit from the building) in a locked cabinet. This might include screwdrivers and other tools that could be used to 'break out' of a building
  • Consider the use of ground anchors to secure equipment to floors or solid walls
  • Use an identifying system to engrave or apply marks to the equipment that can both identify the item as being stolen, and enable its recovery to you
  • Keep a record of anyone who has keys to both the building and the equipment

Fire

  • Store fuel safely in correct containers, ideally separately to the equipment. If this cannot be implemented, use a metal cabinet that can be clearly identified as containing fuel
  • Store other flammables in a similar way – including paint thinners and any other fluids that contain volatile ingredients
  • Avoid starting mowing equipment on a solid floor to reduce the risk of sparks causing a fire
  • Avoid storing hot or warm equipment close to any combustible materials
  • Consider where combustible waste is stored – ideally not adjacent to any buildings
  • Get wiring checked regularly by a qualified electrician to ensure it remains safe. Faulty wiring is a factor in many fires, so this is particularly important

Lastly, check that your insurance policy provides sufficient cover for your garden equipment and machinery. Are the limits high enough, either for items kept in outbuildings or for individually expensive equipment? Are there potentially restrictive conditions surrounding these items?

If you are in any doubt that your property is insured adequately and correctly, Lockton would be happy to review the cover you have in place.