National Home Security Month

October is almost upon us, a month which is known for Halloween and turning the clocks back (here in the UK anyway). However I’m sure many of you didn’t realise that October is also National Home Security Month.

As winter approaches, our nights get longer which means there is more chance for burglars to strike. National Home Security Month has been designed to help create awareness around home security, highlighting ways that people can keep their homes safe during the darker evenings.

National Home Security Month is sponsored by Yale and Asgard Secure Steel Storage is happy to be a proud official supporter.

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Each week of October will focus on a different home security issue.

  • The 1st to 6th October is all about knowing the crime risk in your area and how to find out more about burglaries near where you live.
  • The 7th to 13th October will focus on how to secure your windows and doors.
  • The 14th to 20th October will be full of tips on how to keep your valuables safe.
  • The 21st to 27th October is going to be all about outside protection, an Asgard speciality!
  • Finally the 28th the 31st October will be looking at the future technology of home security.

As an official supporter of National Home Security Month, we’ll be providing you with information and advice on how to keep your home safe.

Find out more on the National Home Security Month website.

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Autumn gardening tips

Autumn is quickly approaching and your garden will be undergoing its yearly transformation. To help you get prepared, here is a quick list of things to do in your garden.

What to do in early autumn

  • Bring tender plants under cover before the first frosts arrives
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Plant spring bedding plants
  • Sow hardy annuals in boarders for earlier flowers next summer
Autumn gardening

Autumn gardening

What to do in mid autumn

  • Tidy up perennials
  • Plant deciduous trees and shrubs
  • Move shrubs that are growing in the wrong places
  • Lay new lawns, making sure the soil isn’t too wet
  • Apply autumn lawn feed

What to do in late autumn

  • Plant roses and hedging plants
  • Clear up fallen leaves and compost them
  • Plant tulips and hyacinths
  • Dig over vacant soil and spread a thick layer of compost

 

How to secure your garden

Garden security is important all year round, but the risk of garden theft becomes a particular problem in winter as the number of daylight hours decreases. A few simple changes can add some much needed protection.

Front Garden

A secure front garden can also help protect your home from a break-in.

  • Make sure the front of your house is visible from the road.
  • Fences, hedges and gates shouldn’t be more than 1 metre high.
  • Use gravel for driveways, as they are noisy.
  • Fit security lighting.
  • Make sure your house is alarmed.
Don't make it easy for thieves to get in your garden

Don’t make it easy for thieves to get in your garden

Gates

  • Wooden gates are easy to climb, cover cross members with panelling so it isn’t so easy to climb
  • Wrought iron gates are difficult to climb and may be a better deterrent.
  • Use two locks if possible.

Fences

Fences offer vital protection from thieves, helping to keep them out.

  • A garden fence should be over 2 meters tall to help keep garden thieves out.
  • Add trellis to your fencing, as anyone attempting to use this to climb will surely break it and fall.
  • Plant spikey leaf plants and bushed along your fence.

Garden equipment

  • Don’t leave any equipment out in your garden, this will be stolen or used as a method to break into your home.
  • Mark your postcode and house number on all of your equipment and expensive garden items with ultraviolet pen or engrave.

Garden sheds

Keep your garden shed securely locked

Keep your garden shed securely locked

Garden sheds and garages are vulnerable to theft. The value of the contents of a garden shed can easily reach into the thousands of pounds, so it is important to keep them as secure as possible.

  • Make sure your garden shed is always locked.
  • Fit a heavy duty lock, for the best protection.
  • If your shed has windows, board them up.
  • Fit your shed/garage with its own alarm system.
  • Consider upgrading your existing wooden shed to a stronger, more secure metal shed.

For more information on garden security visit http://www.asgardsss.co.uk

How to protect outdoor school equipment from theft

You wouldn’t think that thieves would be as heartless as to steal from school children, however when it comes down to it they just don’t seem to care who they steal from.

We have seen schools be the target of theft time and time again and it is usually the outbuildings or sheds that are the target. This has been highlighted again in the news this week, with a shed theft taking place at John Baskeyfield Primary School in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.

The thieves targeted the school shed, which unfortunately happened to be unlocked and stole £150 worth of kid’s tools including spades, forks and hoes. Another shed on the property was locked, although it received substantial damage, nothing was stolen from this shed. The children had been using their tools to tend to their wildlife garden, pond, vegetable beds, orchard and bug hotel.  All of the children’s tools had been bought with money raised by the kids.

Equipment stolen from a Stoke-on-Trent Primary School

Equipment stolen from a Stoke-on-Trent Primary School

Bob said “Perhaps being naive, I thought that no one would steal children’s tools so I had not locked it. When I found out, I was with the kids and it wasn’t a very nice experience for them or me.”

This theft story just points out how important it is to keep your shed secure. Even if you think you’re living in a safe area or think ‘it won’t happen to me’, you can never be too careful. In this case you can see how by just simply locking your shed, you can prevent theft or greatly reduce the risk.

Shed security tips

In order to protect your school shed and outbuildings there are a few easy tips that could mean the difference between your shed being broken into and it not.

  • Always lock your shed!
  • If your shed has any windows, it is best to board them up.
  • Fit a security light near your shed to scare off any tempted thieves.
  • If you have expensive items in your shed it may be worth fitting an alarm.

If security is an issue at your school, Asgard have a range of school storage packs which are designed to provide secure storage for outdoor tools, toys and other equipment.

Asgard School Storage Shed

Asgard School Storage Shed

Made from weatherproof steel, these school storage units are available in a range of sizes and are fitted with security features to help keep thieves out.  Giving you hassle free storage these packs include delivery, installation and a variety of storage accessories.

Will the cycling protest make a difference?

Earlier this week, thousands of cyclists took to London’s streets and rode slowly through central London, bringing streets to a standstill, calling on the mayor to give them more space on the roads. Around 5,000 cyclists took part in the protest, organised by the London Cycling Campaign.

The protest was made up of 20 guided rides across different areas of London, which joined at the London Eye before making their way up to Parliament Square, where MP’s were debating the Get Britain Cycling Report.  Protesters included family members of victims, injured cyclists and accident survivors. The protest was decorated with flags and bells, hooters and stereos could be heard.

Cyclists want more space to be allocated to them on London’s roads and are calling for a barrier of separation between them and other road users.

Protesters took to the streets or London

Protesters took to the streets or London

Cycling accident victim, John Hartley said “Some space has to be taken away from motor vehicles and given to cyclists.”

Debbie Dorling, who lost her husband when he was killed on his bike by a construction lorry 2 years ago said “the only way to stop the fatalities was to create a physical barrier between the cyclists and motor traffic.”

The London cycling campaign are calling for a number of changes to be made to make roads safer for cyclists.

These changes include:

  • A 20mph speed limit in all residential areas
  • £10 to be spent per head on cycling
  • Separation of cyclists on main roads and junctions
  • Upgrade Cycle Superhighway 2
  • Creation of safe cycling routes in Zone 1

But will this protest do anything to help? In many previous cases, we have seen the public protesting only to be ignored.  The government have already rejected the measures put forward on the Get Britain Cycling Report. In addition to this the communities secretary,  Eric Pickles has slated Cambridge for having a pro- cycling policy, which suggests he is not interested in helping cyclists at all. Hopefully the attitude he possess isn’t one that is representative of the majority of MP’s. What do you think this protest will achieve?

 Information provided by the Evening Standard

Do gardening programmes make gardening look easy?

Gardening programmes on the TV have been blamed for making gardening appear easy, especially when it comes to growing vegetables. This is said to have resulted in a number of allotment holders being evicted from their plots.

With the price of food increasing, many people have taken to growing their own food or at least attempting to. I am one of those people, I have yet to venture further than herbs, chillies and tomatoes but it’s a start!

Many amateur gardeners have been fooled into thinking that growing your own food is easy and doesn’t take much effort. This has led to a large number of allotment holders being evicted from their unkempt plots.

Growing vegetables isn't as easy as TV makes out.

Growing vegetables isn’t as easy as TV makes out.

Any keen gardener will know the sheer amount of graft necessary to maintain a successful vegetable plot. Gardeners who have little experience are becoming down heartened and are giving up their plots to the weeds and because of this a record number of plot holders are being evicted for leaving their soil unworked.

Chairman of The Allotments & Gardens Council, Reg Knowles said “Unfortunately people watch the gardening presenters on TV and don’t really see how they have a paid team working seven days a week on their plot. When they realise they have to do all the work themselves, it’s a lot and you have to be able to put the time in.”

There is a misconception that allotments are easy to maintain. Before taking on an allotment plot it is important to make sure you are aware of the work and effort involved.  The average plot needs around 8 hours of work a week, which for many may seem like too much.

If you already have an allotment, make sure your tools are protected and stored securely. Read our article on allotment theft, for tips on how to keep your allotment secure. For a secure allotment shed, take a look at the Asgard garden sheds.