A secure shed can provide the perfect answer to many domestic storage needs, but sheds are too often the target of thieves.
Sheds today quite often contain high-value items that are easy to steal such as bicycles and power tools, so it's vital to have good shed security.
One of the first steps to achieving a secure shed is taking measures to keep the potential thief from getting into the shed in the first place.
An external shed burglar alarm or CCTV camera will make any thief think twice about breaking in.
Solid shed doors and quality locks are another line of defence to keeping your shed secure against intruders.
Finally, it can pay to have some lockable chain anchor system to prevent valuable items being snatched should your shed security system let you down.
Sheds on the market today can be built with shed security in mind with doors, windows and fittings much stronger than your average garden shed.
They may be a little more expensive, but the outlay can be worth it, especially in a high crime area or if the shed is sited out of direct view from the house.
Heavy-duty secure sheds can be fitted with stronger five-point locking systems, reinforced doors, bracing bars and welded hinges and even extra framework to increase strength and security.
Wooden sheds that are flimsily constructed may be cheaper to buy, but they are vulnerable to burglars who can simply kick their way through side panels or even break in through the roof.
Those sitting on compacted earth are often the most vulnerable to thieves. Sheds that have a concrete floor can not only be anchored to the ground, but the bolts can be used to chain-lock valuable items.
Metal sheds are increasingly popular and provide greater shed security without hitting the wallet too hard. Still, they don't look as good as a wooden shed, particularly when sited in the average back garden.
No matter what the shed is made of it is of little use it the doors and hinges are not top quality.
An item that is often overlooked is the quality of the hasp and staple often used to secure doors and windows. A suitable hasp will have bolts that go right through the door frame.
Hasps that are screwed to floor frames can easily be unscrewed. Nuts on the inside of bolted hasps are also crucial to prevent shed break-ins.
A secure shed hasp will have fixings concealed on both sides; a welded hinge pin; a closed shackle padlock and it will be made of hardened steel to prevent attacks with saws or drills.
All these security measures are excellent, but it's much better to stop a potential thief gaining access to your secure shed in the first place.
A burglar alarm system can help make a secure shed even safer from intruders through the deterrent effect alone.
There is a confusing array of devices on the market today, and often people will site DIY burglar alarms in the wrong place, misconfigure them and cause concern among neighbours at repeated false alarms.
Motion detector alarms, for example, can cause problems inside a shed that is not well sealed against draughts that can quickly set alarms ringing.
A well-positioned CCTV camera can not only work as a deterrent, but it can also capture details of any attempted shed break-in. A security camera can even be linked to a TV or mobile phone so that you can check on shed security at any time.
Buying and installing shed alarms and CCTV cameras is best carried out by an experienced and qualified technician, and Crown Securities can advise you on choosing the best security equipment for your needs at no cost.
Shed security systems are not anywhere near as expensive as they once were, and you might be surprised at just how cheap it can be to provide a secure shed that will protect your valuables.
If you are thinking about using a shed to store valuable items such as bicycles, caravans, quad bikes, ride-on lawnmowers, trailers and so on, you should consider having a word with a security expert for advice on how best to protect the building and the contents from thieves and burglars.
The Crime Prevention website has some good advice on security for sheds, summer houses, greenhouses and garden outbuildings