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Nature can help protect against burglars

Plants to help keep burglars at bay

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Installing a burglar alarm system is one of the most effective ways to keep intruders at bay and protect your property but it is not the only one.

A cheap and efficient way of keeping your home or business safe from burglars is to use prickly plants in gardens or borders.

Nature herself can provide you with an excellent defence against intruders as well as provide attractive surroundings, a beautiful hedge and an effective barrier against thieves.

The Metropolitan Police has published a list of 30 plants that can help homeowners protect their gardens from thieves, including giant rhubarb and gooseberry bushes.

Police advice is: "Most burglars are lazy. They look for easy ways of getting into a house or garden. By taking a few simple precautions you can reduce the risk of being burgled and make your property more secure."

There are plenty of plants to choose from and your local garden centre, and an outlay of a few pounds could create a hedge that will keep out unwanted visitors.

You can choose from a wide variety of plants — short, medium and tall, both deciduous and evergreen.

Always allow space and time for growing and, with a minimum of maintenance, you could have a prickly deterrent to help keep your property safe.

Here is a selection of plants worth consideration and some tips on how and where to used them.

Blackthorn
prunus spinosa
Blackthorn makes a useful hedge with a dense growth up to 3.5 metres and sharp spines on the stems. It has small leaves and white flowers while the large blue-black berries are used to flavour sloe gin. It grows well in most soils.

Common Holly
flex agufolium
The familiar Holly is a large evergreen with dark green spiked leaves. It grows well in most soils but likes a good helping of compost and bonemeal when planted. The female bears large red berries in winter.

Firethorn
pyracantha
There are any number of varieties to choose from but 'Orange Glow' is a tall bushy plant with tough, thorny stems that grows 3-5 metres and is particularly useful on a north-facing wall. It can provide an almost impenetrable hedge. White flowers in June are followed by orange berries that last well into the winter

Berberis
Berberis B. darwinii
Another favourite plant, this is a medium-sized deciduous bush has very thorny stems and abundant foliage. It grows in many soils but prefers a sunny position. Vigorous types such as B. darwinii make thick boundary hedges while the dense, small-leaved varieties make an excellent topiary. Taller-growing varieties have very thick, viciously spiny branches, impenetrable to burglars when planted below vulnerable windows.

Blue Spruce
Picea pungens 'Globosa'

People usually think of spruce as a very large tree, but this hardy variety only grows about a metre tall and has rigid close-set branches, angled upwards and packed with dense, spiky blue-grey needles. It is evergreen, slow growing and prefers a moist, fertile but well-drained soil.

Take care with the placement of shrubs and trees to protect your home or property. Keep hedges and plants below ground floor window height so as not to give burglars somewhere to hide.

Whatever plants you choose they are no substitute for a professionally installed intruder alarm system. Crown Securities can give free advice on how best to protect your home or office against burglars. Give us a call today.

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