Fence Theft on the Rise

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Your garden fence is usually the first line of defence against unscrupulous burglars, but a fence panel shortage has seen the humble fence panel turned from household protector into common crime victim.

Local papers are reporting fence panel thefts in areas as far afield as Bolton and Portsmouth, while gangs even targeted a decking and fencing supplier in Derby as part of a daring raid just over a week ago.

The emboldened burglars seem to be spurred on by the sudden jump in fence panel prices that followed the destructive weather last winter. According to Aol, storm damage has caused demand to surge to five times the usual levels in the first quarter of 2014, and fence panel stocks were running low as early as March. Meanwhile, timber merchants have struggled to access their usual woodland supplies because of flooding.

The Daily Mail says that fence panels once worth £20 each have been fetching as much as £80 on the black market, and Yorkshire-based fencing firm Earnshaws told the paper that anyone panic-buying panels at high prices might find they've bought something that was stolen to order.

If you're concerned about the security of your fencing, you should first ensure that your garden panelling is protected by you home insurance policy. Once you're sure they're covered, there are certain measures you can take to avoid theft, and postpone the need for a fencing refresh.

Anti-theft ideas worth considering including planting thorny climbers, investing in anti-climb paint (a non-drying oil), painting them in an easily recognisable colour scheme, and screwing your fence panels into securely grounded wooden fence posts. If you have concrete posts, a metal bracket can be used to secure consecutive panels to either side of the post.

If you're in need of new panels after the tough winter weather, make sure you buy from a reputable supplier. And if wooden fence panels are proving tricky to get hold of, why not consider switching to metal or plastic alternatives, or going green and planting a new hedge.

Sources:
1. www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/11157957.Thieves_steal_fence_panel_from_couple_s__pride_and_joy__garden/   2. www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/Derby-fencing-firm-targeted-thieves-pound-1-000/story-21063600-detail/story.html
3. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/05/12/britain-runs-short-of-garden-fence-panels-thieves-cash-in/?  
4. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2625623/National-fence-crisis-thieves-steal-wooden-panels-order-price-hike-winter-storms.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490  

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