UK: Summertime steals for thieves

Green-fingered homeowners are being warned to secure their sheds and garages as the long-awaited British Summertime also brings a spike in theft from the great outdoors.

  • Lawnmowers and ladders targeted as garden crime rises by 25% when clocks go forward.

Green-fingered homeowners are being warned to secure their sheds and garages as the long-awaited British Summertime also brings a spike in theft from the great outdoors.

Analysis of 10 years of claims data from Aviva reveals that thefts from gardens and outbuildings shoot up by over a quarter (25%)* when the clocks go forward with the average haul totalling around £850.

Children’s toys, bikes and garden tools - from the swankiest lawnmower to the basic rake - are the thieves favourite:

Of the garden equipment stolen last year:

  • 42% of thefts were for power tools, like electric drills, planers and saws
  • 39% were for simple hand tools like spades, shovels, rakes and forks
  • 19% were for electric and petrol lawnmowers, chainsaws and ladders**

Statistics show that thefts from outside the home start to increase as evenings get lighter at the beginning of March with a 10% increase compared to the dark nights of January.

Claims then steadily increase as the days get longer and lighter until they reach their peak in July and August when they are almost 40% higher than at the beginning of the year.

Peter Ketteringham, household underwriting manager at Aviva, says; “Extra hours of sunlight are obviously very welcome after months of darkness, but it also means that your expensive power tools, bikes and golf clubs are more visible than ever to a passing thief, as is your home security– or lack of it!

“So try not to advertise what you’ve got, make sure sheds and summerhouses are properly secured and clear up your garden every evening so there’s nothing lying around that could tempt a criminal on to your property.

 “And bear in mind that loose items like ladders and wheelie bins are perfect for burglars to use to get into your home, so shut them away, out of sight if you can.”

Aviva household policies provide cover for theft of contents in outbuildings, garages and garden sheds up to £2,500, so that would include your mountain bike, lawnmower and set of golf clubs.

Up to £500 of your contents in the garden are also covered, as standard, for theft and damage caused by things like fire, malicious damage or extreme weather events.  This includes patio furniture, pots and BBQs, but if you have some particularly nice garden ornaments or a fancy table and chairs that cover can be increased to £1,500 for around £9 a year.

But remember bikes are not covered if you leave them lying in your garden.

If you do want cover for your bikes outside the home and anywhere in the world you might want to take out extra cycle cover which costs from around £9 a year for the whole family’s bikes. (Cover limits from £300 to £2,500)

Similarly if you would like your golf clubs or fishing tackle to be covered outside the home you could consider taking out additional personal belongings cover, which again covers you anywhere in the world. It costs from around £27 a year for £2,000 worth of cover.

Aviva’s Top Tips to beat the shed burglar

  • Don’t tempt the thieves in, put away your garden tools, paddling pool, trampoline and bikes at the end of the day.
  • Lock your sheds and out-buildings, replace any rusty padlocks.
  • Close gates and repair damaged fences - deterrents are sometimes the best prevention.
  • Hide or cover bulky items which can’t be locked away, such as large gas barbecues and picnic benches.
  • Lock up ladders and secure wheelie bins – they are perfect for giving burglars a leg up into the rest of your home!

Aviva is currently offering new customers 50% off home insurance when they buy online***

For more information on home insurance direct from Aviva go to


* Aviva claims statistics 2002-2011
** Aviva theft claim statistics from January to December 2011
*** Available to new customers who have been claim free for at least five years on their existing home insurance policy.

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:
Rebecca Holmes
Aviva General Insurance press office
Telephone: +44 (0)1603 685177
Mobile: +44 (0)7800 690731
Notes to editors:

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 43 million customers worldwide.

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