Police have told residents to stop putting wire mesh on their garden shed windows – because they could be sued if a burglar is injured.
A spate of thefts in several towns and villages in Kent and Surrey over the past few months led to many householders taking action to protect their property.
Some have been warned by police that using wire mesh to reinforce shed windows was ”dangerous’’ and could lead to criminals claiming compensation if they ”hurt themselves’’.
Thieves target sheds to steal lawnmowers, power drills, bicycles and a variety of DIY tools.
Thomas Cooper, of Tatsfield, Surrey, used wire mesh to protect three of his garden sheds after two break-ins over the past four years. He decided to take action after reports of a rise in garden raids in the area.
Mr Cooper said: “I reinforced my shed windows with wire mesh, but was told by the police I had to be very careful because thieves can actually sue you if they get hurt.
”It is ridiculous that the law protects them even though they are breaking it.”
Last month Samantha Cullum, a mother-of-three, of Brasted, near Sevenoaks in Kent, had her whole shed stolen when thieves lifted it on to a lorry.
She said: “We had some tools stolen every now and again, but this time they took the entire shed – I couldn’t believe it.”