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Plants to help keep burglars at bay

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. Nature too can play a part in the fight against crime.
Using prickly plants in gardens or borders is a cheap and efficient way to keep your home or business safe from burglars.
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 be useful in helping homeowners protect their property. Plants range from prickly bushes to vegetables such as giant rhubarb.
Police tell us that many burglars are lazy. They will avoid houses or gardens that make it more difficult to break into.
Just a few simple precautions could reduce your risk of being burgled and may put off all must the most persistent intruder.
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.

Choosing your plant

You can choose from a wide variety of plants – short, medium and tall, both deciduous and evergreen. Always allow space and time for growth, and with minimum 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 use them.

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

Berberis Berberis B. darwinii
Another favourite plant, this is a medium-sized deciduous bush with 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 moist, fertile, well-drained soil.

Where to place your plants

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 protecting your home or office against burglars. Give us a call today.

Read more about burglary prevention

How to burgle your own house
Seven steps to making your home secure
What to do when a burglar strikes


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Burglar alarms & security systems for the Midlands, the North West & North Wales