HTA issues security alert following spate of garden centre break-ins in the Midlands

The HTA has issued a Security Alert following a trio of garden centre break-ins in the Midlands on the same night.

Three centres were hit in one night - image: HTA
Three centres were hit in one night - image: HTA

Thieves relieved two garden centres in Bromsgrove of cash and stock, both at some point between 6.15pm Sunday evening and 8.30am on Monday morning (25 - 26 September).

Tables, chairs and lamps were also taken from Burcot Garden Centre and Little Heath Garden Centre in Lickey End.

According to Bolton News, police are investigating whether the incidents are connected.

Meanwhile at 9.30pm on Sunday intruders caused extensive and costly damage to Stephen H Smith Irwell Valley garden centre in Bradley Fold.

Trespassers destroyed the centre's alarm system and poured diesel over the floor were forced to leave empty-handed after failing to breach the internal doors.

The branch is up for sale following the retirement of Stephen H Smith.

Manager David Yewdall said: "I got a phone call from security saying that fire and police were here, so I came down straightaway.

"I’m just annoyed that some idiots have broken in and done this, but luckily they didn’t get into the main centre. We think they might have been disturbed, or maybe they just couldn’t get through the locked doors."

Anyone with information about the break-in can call police on 0161 8725050 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

Advice from HTA security adviser:

CCTV Checklist

1. Cameras

- Are all of your cameras working? Are the images clear?
Top Tip: Camera lenses get dirty over time (especially if they are situated in outside locations of your Garden Centre); regularly clean your lenses to improve the picture clarity.

2. Recording - Is the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) operating as it should be and recording images properly?

3. Play Back - Can you play footage back by time and date? If the play back image is not clear, then make an alteration to the camera settings. Make sure you test this often to ensure your image is always clear!

4. Copy - Check if you can copy the footage to a DVD or memory stick. In the event of an incident, the Police will require your CCTV footage. Also ensure you can play back the footage on your PC.

5. Night Images - Do you have external cameras at your Garden Centre? If so then is your CCTV System displaying clear and well lit images? You may need to add to or check your external lighting to guarantee that your cameras are working efficiently at night.
Top Tip: Garden Centres can be targeted by thieves at night. Test your cameras at night time to check the video play back is clear!

6. Signage - Ensure CCTV Warning Signage is clear to both your customers and staff advising CCTV is in operation.

7. Data Protection - Make sure you have registered your CCTV System with The ICO (Information Commissioners Office), for more information visit www.ico.gov.uk.

Key HTA member resources to help prevent crime are:

• Contact the HTA Security Advice Line: 07889 719690 (Jeremy Davies at B to B Links)
• Download the latest edition of the ‘HTA Guidance Note Retail Security' from the HTA website.




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