Gwent Police launch allotment watch initiative in Torfaen
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The community support officer leading the scheme is helping people keep their plots, sheds and tools safe.
Green-fingered residents in Torfaen are signing up to a new crime prevention initiative helping them protect their property from opportunistic thieves.
Gwent Police’s Kim Hughes, a community support officer based in Torfaen, recently introduced an allotment watch initiative in the area – with the aim of helping plot holders secure their sheds and green houses and keep their valuables safe.
So far, 11 local allotment groups have signed up, with people between the ages of 20 and 75 given advice around how to mark their valuable items with SmartWater (a forensic, traceable liquid which allows items to be traced back owners and criminals back to the crime) how to secure items left on site in personal sheds and how to deter thieves.
The sites were also given free packs containing allotment watch signage, crime prevention advice, SmartWater or similar forensic marking solutions and ‘Lottie cards’ – handy cards allowing users to keep a detailed inventory of what they store on site.
And as the warmer weather arrives, she’s encouraging more plot holders in Torfaen to sign up to the crime prevention scheme.
CSO Hughes said:
“Allotments have previously been the target of criminals – due to items often being left unattended on site, sometimes on display, and the fact that some plots are secluded and not overlooked by residential properties.
“The aim of the allotment watch is to bring communities together, share good practice and provide a means of sharing information within the allotment community.
“It’s been really encouraging since its launch to see a wide range of people in Torfaen sign up, display our signage, use their ‘Lottie cards’, and start to implement our crime prevention advice.”
“We’d urge people to remain vigilant throughout the spring and summer months to help keep their sheds and allotments safe. Things like using a good quality padlock, locking valuable items like tools in a locker box, and making sure they’re hidden from view can help keep your belongings safe.”
How to protect your plot
Mark your valuables with SmartWater, or a similar forensic marking solution, and log their details on your ‘Lottie card.’
Secure your shed with a good quality lock.
Keep valuable tools and items out of sight and away from windows/doors.
Secure all tools when not in use – inside a lockable box if possible.
CSO Hughes has been working closely with the force’s We Don’t Buy Crime team, a team dedicated to tackling acquisitive crimes like burglary and theft, to help mark items with SmartWater and put up signage at sites to deter theft.
If you’re a plot owner in Torfaen and want to know more about Gwent Police’s allotment watch initiative, you can speak to the team by emailing [email protected].