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Securing Wheelie Bins and Outdoor Valuables


Wheelie bins have become a common feature outside our homes and businesses. But unfortunately, they are often targeted by criminals. And there are many other valuable outdoor items that can attract unwanted attention - including patio furniture, barbecues and garden equipment. In this post we consider how to secure these valuables.

As we are all experiencing incredible temperatures, prompting many to spend a lot more time outdoors, it`s worth recognising the value of what we leave outside our homes and what we can do to make items as secure as possible. Wheelie bin security, for example, is often overlooked and people are sometimes painfully surprised when their local authorities charge around £45 to replace their missing or damaged bins.

Wheelie Bin History

People often ask: When did wheelie bins start to be used in the UK?

The wheelie bins we know today were first created by a company in Slough called Frank Rotherham Mouldings, on March 12th, 1968. The bin design was originally intended for the movement of waste material from one area to another inside their premises. At this time household refuse was commonly deposited in galvanised metal dustbins which had two metal handles on either side. Refuse collectors would sometimes suffer painful back injuries due to lifting these often heavy, cumbersome bins. A health and safety inspector recognised the value of the wheelie bin design adopted at the Slough factory, and this resulted in more widespread commercial usage. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that the value of wheelie bins in domestic situations became more widely appreciated.

Why Wheelie Bin Security is Essential

Understanding how criminals, burglars and vandals use and target wheelie bins demonstrates why it`s important to pay attention to wheelie bin security.

Wheelie bins are known to be used by criminals and burglars as climbing aids. Most burglaries are opportunistic crimes wherein perpetrators use whatever is readily available to gain access to selected properties. Wheelie bins left outdoors make ideal climbing platforms, enabling criminals to reach upper storey windows and scale perimeter fences and walls.

Wheelie bins are also known to be used by criminals to transport their stolen booty. Police forces have urged people to be vigilant after thieves were identified using wheelie bins to transport metal, stolen from church rooftops.

Wheelie bins can also provide criminals with signals indicating when occupiers are away from home. If the bins are left outside when they are normally retrieved, burglars know the property is a relatively easy, vacant target.

The waste contained in wheelie bins can also be used by criminals. Documents, discarded letters and bank statements can potentially provide enough information to enable criminals to steal someone’s identity.

And wheelie bins are often targeted by arsonists, vandals and children. Around bonfire night (5th November) each year, fire brigades throughout the UK face many callouts to deal with wheelie bin fires. In some serious cases, fires have escalated to ignite fences, sheds, garages and homes. Police forces have warned that the risk of wheelie bins being exploited by arsonists and vandals, as bonfire night approaches, has increased in recent years.

Another reason why it`s important to secure wheelie bins is if they are blown into the road, or if vandals move them, they can become a serious hazard to traffic. There have been many reports of wheelie bins in roads causing significant traffic chaos and accidents.

There have also been an increasing number of reports of homeless people and revellers sleeping in and around wheelie bins, generally the larger, commercial sized containers. Sadly, seven people died in bins between 2013 and 2018.

Police Advice on Keeping Wheelie Bins Safe and Secure

Police Forces, working in conjunction with UK Fire and Rescue services, have provided valuable advice on how to minimise the risk of wheelie bin crime. Here are their recommendations:

  1. Don’t leave the wheelie bin in the street, especially overnight.
  2. If possible, store the wheelie bin at the back of the property, out of sight, ideally behind a locked gate.
  3. Make certain never to locate the wheelie bin under a window where it can potentially be used to access the upper storey.
  4. When putting the bin out for collection - leave it until as late as possible. Ideally, put the bin out on the morning of the refuse collection day.
  5. Always retrieve the bin once it has been emptied.
  6. Use a lock to secure the wheelie bin in it`s location.
  7. Mark the wheelie bin with the house number.
  8. Attaching groups of wheelie bins together makes them far more difficult to move and steal.
  9. Be a good neighbour by retrieving their emptied bins, if they are out at work.

Wheelie Bin Locks

Our wheelie bin locks are specifically designed to meet the recommendations made by UK police forces and fire brigades.

wheelie bin locks
Wheelie Bin Locks

Devised for both domestic and commercial applications, our locks prevent bins from being removed by attaching them to secure wall anchors using padlocked chains. The tough, steel wall plate is 3mm thick and finished in either durable black paint or galvanised for long life. Standard chain lengths of 250mm, 500mm and 1m are available from stock and wheelie bin locks are supplied with the required masonry bolts or fixing screws, along with a high quality 40mm padlock.

Securing Other Outdoor Valuables

Wheelie bins are not the only items commonly left outside our homes. While security advice tells us that we shouldn’t leave anything of value outdoors this isn’t always possible. Not all homes have sheds, garages or secure storage facilities so it`s inevitable that some items will always be left outside. Unfortunately, the cost of living crisis has prompted warnings of a likely crime wave as people look for ways to make some money. And since outdoor items such as garden furniture, barbecues and wheelbarrows can be very expensive, criminals can easily find bargain-seeking buyers for their stolen plunder.

Securing Ladders Outside

Security professionals always recommend that ladders should be locked away in a safe, secure, dry location. But this isn’t always possible, so what can you do?

If it’s not possible to securely lock ladders away inside they should be protected from the weather and stored off the ground. This can be achieved using a couple of appropriate ladder storage brackets. Any ladders left outdoors should be securely locked in place and it`s important to use two locks, at either end of the ladder. Using just one lock isn’t enough as the ladder can potentially be used as a lever to overcome security.

Wheelie bin locks can potentially be used, one at either end of a ladder to secure it in place. Alternatively, robust wall anchors and security chains provide excellent security. And if it`s necessary to attach a ladder, or other items, to a shed structure then a Shed Shackle provides a highly robust anchor point.

shed shackle anchor point
Shed Shackle Anchor Point

Another important ladder security recommendation is to security mark ladders (and any other outdoor valuables) with address and ownership details using appropriate forensic asset labelling.

Protecting Patio Furniture from Thieves

Theft of patio furniture, especially high-end, expensive items, is increasing. And if adequate precautions aren’t taken, insurance companies may be reluctant to pay out when furniture is stolen.

It’s recommended that outdoor, patio furniture is locked in place using security cables and tough wall or ground anchors. Security cables can be threaded through multiple furniture items and securely padlocked to immovable wall or ground anchors. Alternatively, security chains can be used, although many prefer the aesthetic appearance of cables.

And, as for all valuables left outdoors, it`s important to apply security labelling. This helps the police in returning any stolen items they have managed to retrieve and importantly, if thieves know that items are security marked, it will deter them.

Another valuable recommendation is to capture images of your patio furniture, along with the precautions you have taken to secure it, as this will be enormously useful to show your insurance company if you unfortunately need to make a claim.

Wheelbarrows, Barbecues, Bicycles and More

It`s almost inevitable that valuables including barbecues, wheelbarrows and possibly bicycles will be left outdoors during the hot summer months. But if these items aren’t securely locked in place there is the chance they will be lost to opportunistic criminals.

Ground and wall anchors along with robust security chains, cables and padlocks provide enough security to deter all but the most determined thieves.

ground and wall anchors
Ground and Wall Anchors for Security

A concrete-in ground anchor and security chain will prevent expensive trailers left in driveways from being stolen and suitably located wall anchors can be used as locking points for a variety of outdoor items including bikes, wheelbarrows and barbecues.

It`s worthwhile taking a few moments to consider the security of what you are leaving outdoors and how much it will cost if items are stolen or damaged. Taking precautions to protect valuables will save money and give you peace of mind.

If you have any questions about home security or safety or if you have any special requirements remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll provide free, expert advice.

This message was added on Thursday 28th July 2022


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