Keep secure while the sun shines

With summer and the peak holiday season now here, many of us are likely to spend more time relaxing in the garden or away from home altogether while on a break or weekend away.

However, don’t let the seasonal feel-good factor end in upset by being complacent when it comes to security.

Advice from our estate agents follows recent research which reveals some of the security slip-ups UK homeowners make during the summer.

Head of Estate Agency Su Snaith said: “Many of us seem to let our guard down slightly when summer kicks in – with the lighter and warmer evenings and sunny weekends meaning we spend more time outdoors. It just takes an opportunist thief to spot an open window, unlocked garage or act on a social media post to ruin your summer.”

The study* showed that more that 13 million households (48 per cent) are committing the most basic security faux pas – which could put their property and their belongings at risk.

These include:

  • Sharing their holiday plans on social media
  • Leaving sheds unlocked and windows open
  • Leaving ladders in the garden or tall items under a window
  • Hiding keys under a plant pot

Su added: “Some simple checks will help to keep your property and garden safe and secure, giving you peace of mind to enjoy yourself with family and friends – whether at home or away.”

Your property

  • Check your doors, windows and patio doors are fully closed and locked before you go to bed.
  • If you are in the garden, make sure the windows at the front of the house are closed – it’s easy for someone to enter your house unobserved via an insecure window or door.
  • If you are planning to go away, ensure all moveable valuables like handbags, laptops and mobile phones are hidden from view and stored in a secure place.
  • Use automatic timer-switches to turn on a light and perhaps a radio when it gets dark.
  • Don’t leave your curtains drawn for the duration of your holiday – it’s fine in the evening but during the day it is a giveaway that the house is empty.
  • A pile of post hanging out of your letterbox is a clear sign that you are away. Ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your mail.
  • Never leave keys anywhere near the front door, in line of sight from your letterbox; burglars know where to look.
  • If you have an alarm make sure it is serviced and you have mutual arrangement with a neighbour to hold keys and check the property. False calls are annoying and the genuine one may just get ignored.
  • If you are selling your home, ensure you leave a key with your agent.

Your garden

  • Make sure the garden looks cared for and that passers-by can see the front of your home so that a burglar can't work without being spotted.
  • Remove and secure items that may be used to break in or climb up such as ladders and garden tools – and don’t leave any equipment, like lawnmowers, unattended in your front garden.
  • Secure gates and sheds, and fit security lighting on a movement detector.
  • Fix garden statues or expensive plants securely in place.
Your garage
  • Never leave your garage door open for others to view the contents – even for just a short time. They may make a mental note of what is in there and return later.
  • Fit an alarm or heavy-duty lock to the garage.
  • Make a note of model and series numbers of any bikes or tools stored in garages or sheds.
Finally, check your home contents insurance policy – you may have bought new garden furniture, laptop or cycles since it was last renewed. We can help with a range of insurance services for your home and garden valuables:

*Co-op insurance

Boosting outdoor space

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