Trouble in the potting shed as thefts soar

It's time to lock up your lawnmowers. Theft from sheds and gardens increased more than any other crime over the past year, with the number of incidents outside the home rising 13 per cent to 1.3 million according to the British Crime Survey.

Levels of such crimes have generally remained steady for the past six years and the increase, up to 1.3 million offences from 1.2 million the previous year, comes despite the overall results remaining relatively stable.

The survey of 45,000 households estimated there were 9.7 million crimes in the 12 months to June, compared with 9.6 million the previous year. Meanwhile, the number of crimes recorded by police fell 4 per cent to 4.1 million, down from 4.3 million.

Another increase came in knifepoint robberies, up by 7 per cent. The Association of Chief Police Officers said this was due to thieves targeting mobile phones which can be sold for up to double their value on the black market abroad.

However, the number of victims killed with knives remained broadly the same at 205, compared with 206 the previous year.

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