Dom Joly: Someone keeps sneaking in on me at night. I suspect it's Liz Hurley

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The Independent Online

I popped down to the shop in the next village for some Valium and gin and found myself inexorably drawn to the village noticeboard near the entrance. The main attraction is the monthly list posted by the police informing residents of what crimes have been committed in the area. If you believed the media then there should be garish reports of granny bashing, gang rapes and mass murder. The reality is slightly more humdrum. Last month's highlights include: a "youth" hanging around an allotment in a suspicious manner, a pitchfork stolen from a garden shed and, worst of all, a stray dog (come to think of it, that last one might be mine, but you get the picture).

I popped down to the shop in the next village for some Valium and gin and found myself inexorably drawn to the village noticeboard near the entrance. The main attraction is the monthly list posted by the police informing residents of what crimes have been committed in the area. If you believed the media then there should be garish reports of granny bashing, gang rapes and mass murder. The reality is slightly more humdrum. Last month's highlights include: a "youth" hanging around an allotment in a suspicious manner, a pitchfork stolen from a garden shed and, worst of all, a stray dog (come to think of it, that last one might be mine, but you get the picture).

The local police certainly get the picture. I had to go to Cirencester police station last week to produce my driving papers following the incident in which two students wrote off my car by smashing into the back of me. Memo to luxury car retailers: I am in the market for a new motor to suit my lofty status. All freebie offers to this paper please.

As I waited for the desk officer to process my papers I rummaged through the available literature and stumbled upon a real gem. It was the title that immediately drew me to it: "Defensive planting, nature's way to beat the burglar". I read on. The leaflet confirmed what I'd already gleaned from the village noticeboard. "While burglary into homes has reduced ... shed crime has risen substantially." I don't remember Tony Blair talking about this sinister crimewave in his election patter. It seems that it's down to local police to tackle this outbreak in their own way.

How do they propose to do this? I consulted the leaflet. "Defensive planting is nature's own way to reduce crime." They recommend plants such as ilex aquifolium and chaenomeles x superba for their "spike rating". The great news is that, with the assistance of this leaflet we can all "produce a beautiful garden and reduce the risk of being the next victim of ... garden crime." The police were obviously unaware of my interest in this matter. Regular readers will be aware of a problem that I have. Someone, and I suspect that it may be Liz Hurley, has been sneaking into my garden at night and disgracing themselves behind an enormous bush in my courtyard. We've tried all sorts of things to prevent it, from motion-sensitive lights to hidden electric wire and an attack badger but they still get through. While the police leaflet was designed to deal with shed crime, I realised that it could also help me to stop Hurley - or her double - in their tracks.

I have hired a professional gardener who has come up with a series of nasty, natural surprises should that pert bum be bared in my courtyard again. The leaflet also proposes the idea of a water feature as a further deterrent to an intruder. I have decided to seek planning permission to dig a moat round the estate.

There'll be the usual whining from the village; people who'll think it's "inappropriate" or "unsightly" but I don't care. I've bought a drawbridge on eBay and it's being delivered tomorrow.

The postman is really unhappy because he is scared of water but I told him about shed crime and Hurley and I think he's cool with it. The leaflet also suggests that I should "secure, mark and photograph" all my garden ornaments. Joking aside, I have a very valuable collection of Swedish "porno gnomes". They're not to everyone's taste but I love them and if some pimply youth made it past my natural defence barriers and made off with them I would be very upset.

Sadly, I think my gardener got the wrong end of the stick when he wandered into the rose garden only to find me on the ground photographing "Gurdy Dong", the leader of the pack.

He beat a hasty retreat ignoring my explanations. It's not easy being a Crimestopper but I'm doing my bit and, if you've got half a brain, so should you. Get planting.

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