Brit villagers warned wire to protect garden sheds ‘could hurt burglars’

Sunday, February 13, 2011

LONDON - Police in UK have ordered villagers to remove wire mesh protecting their windows - because it could hurt burglars and lead to lawsuits.

Many homeowners in the villages of Tandridge and Tatsfield in Surrey and in Westerham, Brasted and Sundridge in Kent had reinforced their windows with wire mesh after a spate of shed thefts over the past few months.

However, they have been warned by community police officers that the wire was ‘dangerous’ and could lead to criminals claiming compensation if they ‘hurt themselves’, reports the Daily Mail.

The villagers are furious that they are being branded ‘criminals’ for protecting their property.

Surrey Police, however, have defended the move but outraged residents have attacked the force for seemingly trying to protect criminals.

Thomas Cooper, of Tatsfield, Surrey, used wire mesh to protect three of his garden sheds after two break-ins over the past four years.

He said he decided to take action after reports of a rise in shed burglaries in the area.

“I reinforced my shed windows with wire mesh, but was told by the police I had to be very careful because thieves can actually sue you if they get hurt,” he said.

Last month Samantha Cullum, mother-of-three, of Brasted, near Sevenoaks in Kent, had her entire shed stolen when thieves lifted it onto a truck in the dead of night.

“We had some tools stolen every now and again, but this time they took the entire shed - I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Tatsfield homeowner Dave Bishop labelled the police advice ‘unbelievable’ and said people should be allowed to protect their property.

“We are constantly advising homeowners to protect their property and the contents of their shed or garage, however, a commonsense approach needs to be taken,” said Crime reduction officer for Tandridge PC John Lee.

“To properly secure your sheds, Surrey Police strongly advises people to invest in items such as good-quality locks and bolts, and not to resort to homemade devices, as this could cause injury,” he added.

“Homemade devices can cause injury and there have been cases where criminals have sued for injuries they have suffered while committing a criminal act,” said a police source.

“We are advising people to do whatever they can to protect their property, but wire mesh is not one of the suggestions we would make,” the source added. (ANI)

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