HOMEOWNERS are being urged to get ‘sheducated’ and take simple steps to keep thieves at bay.
In the last month, there have been 18 overnight burglaries to outbuildings in the north of the city, 11 of which were in Castletown.
The majority of thefts have involved sheds being broken into, with items such as bikes and tools stolen.
Officers are stepping up patrols to deter and target thieves.
However, they are also urging people to make sure their shed is secured, particularly if expensive items are inside, with officers warning it is not only the property they risk losing, but tools could also be used to break into homes.
Shed burglaries can be prevented by taking simple measures such as using quality padlocks and replacing standard hinges with strap hinges secured by coach bolts or non-return screws.
Garden side gates should be locked, as an intruder climbing over is more likely to be seen as suspicious than if they use one that is open.
Security lighting is also a deterrent, and portable shed alarms can scare off intruders.
Bikes in particular need additional security locks and chains within a garage or shed, as they are increasingly becoming the target for thieves, and all property should also be security marked.
Sunderland North Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty said: “Most people don’t realise the value of property stored in sheds and garages until it is stolen.
“Gardeners continue to store high-value equipment, such as tools, lawn mowers, power tools and bikes in sheds and outhouses without adequate security.
“I would ask the public to be more vigilant and take extra security measures in and around the garden. It’s worth spending a little on simple security devices to save a lot in the future.”
Suspicious activity can be reported via 101, extension 69191, and in an emergency, 999.
Crime prevention advice is available on www.northumbria.police.uk and the force can be can be followed on Twitter via @NPSunderland and on Facebook.