SOUTH Yorkshire Police officers have issued advice on how best to protect your shed following an increase in reports during the winter months.

Barnsley officers have urged residents to stay vigilant after break-ins of sheds and outbuildings are expected to grow.

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “Barnsley is a low crime area, but there are still things that you can do to make sure that you feel safe and that will protect yourself and your property.

“Items such as lawnmowers, bicycles, golf clubs, fishing tackle and power tools can all be kept insecurely in sheds and these can all be easy pickings for thieves to target.”

The guidance includes:

• Install a shed alarm, with a notice displayed to warn thieves that it is not worth the effort of breaking in. The alarms are easy to install and can be purchased at most DIY stores.

• Make sure the door is securely locked at all times.

• If there is a window, use an old curtain or bubble wrap to allow natural light in, but to deny a clear view of any items that may be on view.

• Ensure all valuable property if possible is clearly marked with a permanent marker, your postcode and house number. Post-coding property makes your belongings very unattractive to a thief by making items easily identifiable and difficult to sell.

• Lock up pedal cycles. Use bike locks and chain them inside to other large items or to the shed.

• Keep a record of the make, model and ID numbers of bicycles and all other equipment and take photographs of unusual items.