Wiltshire Police are launching a crackdown on burglars who target sheds, garages and outbuildings in and around Melksham.

There has been a recent increase in so-called “non dwelling burglaries” in the town which can involve the theft of valuable possessions such as bicycles, mini motos, fishing gear and lawn mowers.

The thefts can leave property owners upset and out of pocket. Now senior officers have drawn up plans to strike back against the thieves.

Working on community intelligence, officers will be targeting thieves who are believed to have been involved in a significant number of the break-ins. Teams will use high-visibility tactics to discourage them from operating in Melksham.

The Melksham Neighbourhood Policing Team will be distributing crime prevention advice via their newsletters reminding people how they can keep their property secure.

Officers will be contacting second hand dealers to check whether they have been approached to sell stolen goods.

Insp Lisette Harvey, sector inspector for Melksham, Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon, said: “We have been running patrols at a heightened level for some time, and now we are embarking on this operation.

“The focus will be on burglaries from sheds and garages in Melksham.

“The people behind these break-ins leave behind them a trail of damage and law-abiding property owners are left angry, upset and very frustrated. We want those thieves to know that we are on to them and my teams will be doing everything in their power to stop these crimes.

"We need people in the community to come forward with information so that we can continue to build an intelligence picture on those who engage in stealing from garages or sheds.

“It is important to say that, in too many instances, property has been left insecure and the offenders will have had very little difficulty in removing the goods.

“So I would like to appeal to people to review their security.

“The Melksham Neighbourhood Policing Team would be happy to advise people on improvements and preventative measures. They can be contacted via 101.

“It is also important that people contact us with any information which may help to identify those responsible.

“I would also urge people to report suspicious activity so that we can stop other members of the community becoming victims.”


Tips to make your garage and shed more secure:

• If you use padlocks, invest in a good quality closed shackle padlock

• Fit backplates and use threaded coach bolts for all door hinges, hasps and staples to prevent them being wrenched free

• Chain large items together with smaller items

• Board over or fit welded mesh to any windows and use net curtains to stop people seeing what you have inside

• Fit additional locks to your up-and-over garage door – the standard fitted locks are not always sufficient to prevent a break-in

• Treat any pedestrian door to your garage as you would an outside door of your home – fit a minimum five- lever mortice lock to secure it

• Make sure all items in your garage and shed are marked and registered with Immobilise.com.  Mark with a DNA property marking system and if large, paint your postcode in bright colour on the item

• Check sure your insurance covers items in garages, shed and outhouses

• Remember, tools from your shed or garage could be used to break into your home – by securing them you are making your home more secure too