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Crime Prevention

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PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM CAR THIEVES

Most vehiclecrime is opportunistic and therefore preventable.
By following somestraightforward advice we can ensure that this type of crime keeps falling.

Don't leave valuables such as CDs, pen drives, sat nav systems, laptops, handbags andmobile phones on show – even if you think the item isn't of any particular value, someone else might think differently.

Don't leave coats or clothing visible.
Their pockets may be empty but someone lookingthrough the window won't know that.

Make sure your car is locked and all windows, doors, boot and sunroof are closedproperly.

Active all security devices, alarms, immobilisers, etc. when left unattended.

Always park your car in a safe, well -lit place. Use a garage if you have one andconsider fitting extra locks or an electronic garage door.

If you park your car on your drive, consider fitting substantial locking gates orsecurity posts.

Never leave your keys in any place within your home that could be reached through theletterbox on your front door with the aid of a hook on a cane or any otherdevice.

EXTRA CARE ON COLD MORNINGS
Never leave keys in the ignition and doors unlocked when your car is unattended, even if it is only for a couple of minutes, whether the vehicle is sitting on your driveway or on the roadside.

Allow an extra few minutes to defrost and stay with the vehicle while it warms up.
Alternatively, use a de-icer spray and windscreen scraper to clear your windowsand lights.

Always ensure your view is completely clear before moving off.

In a situation where a driver has left a vehicle unattended, insurers mat argue that reasonable care has not been taken.
This invalidates an insurance claim.

Victims are then faces with the loss of their vehicle with no means ofreplacement, even though they are fully insured.
.

CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT PREVETION ADVICE

catalytic-theft

Did you know a thief can take the catalytic converter from your car in a matter of minutes and leave you to foot the bill?

Precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium are used in catalytic converters.
The price of some of these metals has risen sharply in recent years and as a result has led to an increase in the theft of catalytic convertors.

Cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles, as these vehicles have two power sources, so the catalytic converter is used less frequently.

The metals are less likely to corrode, meaning they are worth more and therefore more attractive to thieves.
Hybrid cars, Vans and SUV's are particularly at risk, as the ride height makes access to the exhaust system beneath them easier.

To reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen, you should:-Park your car in a locked garage where possible, but if this isn't an option, then park it in a well-lit and well-populated area

  • Park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make the theft more difficult
  • Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter
  • If there is a fleet of vehicles, park the low clearance vehicles to block the high clearance vehicles. This will obstruct access underneath
  • If parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars and facing you bonnet towards the wall if possible. With the catalytic converter positioned at the front of your vehicle, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it
  • For thefts occurring on driveways, consider the use of a Secured by Design (SBD) approved driveway alarm and sensor. This may assist in alerting you of a potential intruder entering your driveway or garden
  • If your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can ask for your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove
  • Alternatively, you can mark your catalytic converter. Please ensure any property marking is Secured by Design (SBD) approved
  • You can even purchase a 'cage clamp' which is a cage device that locks in around the converter to make it more difficult to remove
  • Speak to your dealership about the possibility of installing a Thatcham approved alarm and tilt sensor that will activate the alarm should any thief try to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter
  • If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the Police. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle details


CONTROLLING YOUR DOG IN PUBLIC

keep-dogs-on-leads



Overview
It's against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, such as:

  • In a public place
  • In a private place, for example a neighbour's house or garden
  • In the owner's home
  • The law applies to all dogs.


Out of control
Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:

  • Injures someone
  • Makes someone worried that it might injure them

A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply:

  • It attacks someone's animal
  • The owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal
  • A farmer is allowed to kill your dog if it's worrying their livestock

Penalties:
You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to 6 months (or both) if your dog is dangerously out of control.
You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.

  • If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to 5 years or fined (or both). If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with 'malicious wounding'.
  • If you allow your dog to kill someone you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years or get an unlimited fine (or both).
  • If you allow your dog to injure an assistance dog (for example a guide dog) you can be sent to prison for up to 3 years or fined (or both).

Antisocial Behaviour

What is antisocial behaviour?


broken-bottle


Antisocial behaviour is a range of behaviours that can cause nuisance and annoyance or harm and distress to a person. It is a wide range of unacceptable activity and includes things like:

  • Noise – including loud music, banging, DIY at unsocial hours, loud parties, frequent visitors at unsocial hours
  • Shouting, swearing and fighting
  • Intimidation through threats or actual violence
  • Harassment
  • Verbal abuse
  • Abusive behaviour aimed at causing distress or fear to certain people, for example, elderly or disabled people
  • Driving in an inconsiderate or careless way, for example, drivers congregating in an area for racing/car cruising
  • Dumping rubbish
  • Animal nuisance, including dog fouling, dogs barking
  • Vandalism, property damage and graffiti
  • Antisocial drinking
  • Arson


There is a fine line between antisocial behaviour and neighbour disputes which can often begin over relatively minor inconveniences such as parking. However, if they persist, they can potentially become antisocial behaviour.

What antisocial behaviour isn't

The following behaviours are not officially classed as antisocial:

  • Parking (including badly parked vehicles)
  • Children playing
  • Neighbours doing DIY (at reasonable times of the day)
  • Groups of people in the street or in parks, unless they are being rowdy, abusive, causing damage or committing other crimes
  • Noise caused by everyday living
  • Religious or cultural practice
  • A one-off party
  • General living noise


How to report antisocial behaviour

Who can you report antisocial behaviour to?

  • Your local authority
  • Your social housing landlord
  • The police

All the above have powers to deal with your report.

It is important that you keep a record of the incidents and the behaviour, as this will be of great help in investigating the behaviour and tackling it.

THE HIGHWAY CODE – PARKING

the-highway-code

Over the last month there has been an increase in the number of complaints we have received in relation to parking, particularly in Malpas.
The under mentioned points are MUST NOT – The Law and DO NOT – Advise / Best Practice

You MUST NOT stop or park on:
the carriageway or the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency

  • a pedestrian crossing, including the area marked by the zig-zag lines
  • a clearway
  • taxi bays as indicated by upright signs and markings
  • an Urban Clearway within its hours of operation, except to pick up or set down passengers
  • a road marked with double white lines, even when a broken white line is on your side of the road, except to pick up or set down passengers, or to load or unload goods
  • a tram or cycle lane during its period of operation
  • a cycle track
  • red lines, in the case of specially designated 'red routes', unless otherwise indicated by signs. Any vehicle may enter a bus lane to stop, load or unload where this is not prohibited


DO NOT stop or park:

  • near a school entrance
  • anywhere you would prevent access for Emergency Services
  • at or near a bus or tram stop or taxi rank
  • on the approach to a level crossing/tramway crossing
  • opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space
  • near the brow of a hill or hump bridge
  • opposite a traffic island or (if this would cause an obstruction) another parked vehicle
  • where you would force other traffic to enter a tram lane
  • where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles
  • in front of an entrance to a property
  • on a bend
  • where you would obstruct cyclists' use of cycle facilities


Except when forced to do so by stationary traffic

PARKED UP AND LEAVING THE ENGINE RUNNING LAW AND FINES
vehciles-running-whilst-parked

Most of us have seen them – drivers sitting in their car waiting whilst keeping the engine running. Are the drivers cold and have the heater on or perhaps they're hot and are using the air con? Who knows, but whatever the weather, there's always those that simply can't be bothered to turn the engine off? It seems particularly those of diesel engines that appear unable to find the off switch, with their loud clattering engine kicking out a stink to anyone walking past.

So why do drivers of diesel cars keep the engine running? There are some theories from letting the turbo idle so to cool down; allowing oil to circulate in the engine; or indeed to save wear on the glow plugs or starter motor.

Essentially though, it's all nonsense. It's annoying for pedestrians walking through this wall of toxic stench, for residents dealing with noise and pollution and it's not too great for the environment either.
Modern engines whether diesel or petrol are perfectly capable of being turned off immediately after stopping without any damage occurring. In fact most modern vehicles now come with start / stop technology to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. But what about the legalities of not turning off?

IS IT ILLEGAL TO SIT IN CAR WITH ENGINE RUNNING
Waiting in your car with the engine running can cause detrimental effects the health of some individuals.
On a public road, it indeed is illegal to sit in your car whilst keeping the engine running within the UK.
The Highway Code states:

'You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road'. Generally, if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution. However it is permissible to leave the engine running if the vehicle is stationary in traffic or for diagnosing faults.'

IS THERE A FINE
A fixed penalty notice under Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2002 can be issued by Parking Enforcement Officer (Traffic Warden). Fixed penalty notices are dealt with via local councils.

ARE THERE ANY EXEMPTIONS
A Parking Enforcement Officer should use discretion and will in the first instance, will ask the driver to turn off their engine. If refused, the officer may issue a penalty notice. This legislation covers all vehicles on public roads including buses, taxis and private cars. This law does not apply to vehicles traveling in slow moving traffic due to congestion; vehicles stopped at traffic lights; vehicles that are undergoing repair or being tested and where a vehicle engine is on to defrost a windscreen.

IS THIS A RESONABLE LAW
Air pollution, particularly in cities can affect the health of many. Exhaust emissions contain a range of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons and particulate matter. Whilst emissions from stationary vehicles represent a small contributor to the overall levels of air pollution, they can be of concern to individuals with health concerns such as asthma and other respiratory conditions.

HOW DO I REMAIN WITHIN THE LAW
There's no specific guide, more common sense. If you are waiting and parked in your vehicle for 30 seconds or more, turn off your engine.

Christmas Home Security Tips

christmas-tree-and-presents

1. Double lock external doors
Just one lock on a door isn't enough – it's important to use a dead or double lock on outside doors, burglars can use their foot to check whether there's a dead lock on the door – if the door moves more than two millimetres, they'll know a door isn't double locked. Remember to lock doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you're just in the garden.

2. Don't leave presents under the tree
Christmas home security tips include not leaving presents in sight under the tree. Householders should not to leave presents under the tree, particularly if they're visible from windows or doors.

3. Leave the lights on for better home security
Leave lights on even when out to help keep your home secure. Although the police suggest that when householders go out at night, they should consider leaving the lights on with the curtains drawn, so it looks like someone's at home, be mindful of where the lights are on, as this can make valuable belongings more visible to thieves. That's why it's important curtains or blinds are closed.

4. Recycle packaging of expensive presents
Dispose of present packaging carefully, as the police warn empty boxes left outside can advertise that you have new and desirable goods inside your home. It's a good idea to recycle packaging, taking Christmas present boxes – especially for big-ticket items such as phones or games consoles – to your nearest recycling centre.

5. Letterbox fishing
Avoid the risk of burglars stealing valuable items from your home through your letterbox, such as keys lying on the side, by fitting a cage to the inside of your letterbox. You should also keep keys out of reach rather than on a sideboard or console table near the door. If you have glass doors, make sure that would-be thieves can't see where you are keeping your keys. Want to keep an eye on things at home while you're out? Why not have wi-fi security cameras fitted so you can keep tabs on your home.

6. Keep cash in the bank
Never keep large amounts of cash at home. It can be tempting to keep cash around, especially if giving cash gifts to relatives and grandchildren, but limit the amount you keep. Consider fitting a safe at home, though ideally write cheques instead of giving cash.

7. Keep calendars out of sight
Appointments and festive holidays listed on calendars will give potential intruders a window of opportunity to break into your home undisturbed. Ensure information on any calendars cannot be easily viewed through a window. Ideally, use a digital or online calendar, such as one on your phone or computer.

8. Lock outbuildings for better home security
Christmas home security tips apply to external buildings, too. It's important to securely lock any sheds or garages, so thieves can't gain access to ladders and tools which they could use to get into your home. Keep valuables, such as cycles, chained up and consider fitting a shed alarm and external motion-controlled lighting to illuminate your garden if someone enters it.

9. Be careful what you post on social media
A modern consideration for any Christmas home security tip is to be careful what you post on social media. If a burglar has access to your name through old post or personal information, they can easily find your social media accounts too. Sharing holiday countdowns or updates if you're away is an open invitation for burglars to head into your home with the knowledge that they won't be disturbed.

10. Limit access to house keys
Householders should never to leave keys anywhere near the front door, as burglars know where to look. If you really need to leave keys outside, so family and friends have access to your property, buy a key safe or install a keyless lock and share access.

11. Keep your digital alarm keypad clean
Christmas home security tips include keeping the keypad clean of your digital alarm system. If you have a digital alarm system, make sure you keep it clean so it's not obvious which ones are pressed frequently – if burglars know what digits you're using, they can easily

FIREWORKS AND THE LAW
fireworks

People on all sorts of occasions enjoy fireworks, but sometimes they can be misused, making them dangerous and a nuisance.

As a result of widespread concern and anti-social behaviour use of fireworks, the government passed a new law in September 2003.
The Fireworks Act 2003, controls supply, possession and use.

The Fireworks Act makes it an offence to:

  • Let fireworks off in a public place. A public place is anything other than your own property such as parks, the street or at school.
  • For anyone under 18 to possess fireworks in a public place (other than a sparkler).
  • Possess public display fireworks by anyone other than a firework professional.
  • Set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am – apart from on 5th November, Diwali, New Year's Eve and the Chinese New Year, when the curfew is extended to midnight.
  • It is illegal for shops to sell fireworks without an appropriate licence. Shopkeepers must also display a notice for customers, explaining the law.
  • There is a compulsory training course and a 120 decibel noise limit for all those organising large public displays.
  • If you misuse fireworks and break the law you could be fined or be issued with an Anti-social Behaviour Order (ASBO).

Firework Safety

Fireworks and bonfires can be a lot of fun but if not handled properly they can be dangerous.
Always follow the fireworks code and keep yourself and others safe.
When buying fireworks look for the safety standard – BS7114 and check whether they are for use indoors, in their garden or for display.

The Fireworks Safety Code

  • Store fireworks in a sealed box or tin and out of the reach of children.
  • Use them one at a time, replacing the lid straight away.
  • NEVER put fireworks in your pocket.
  • Read the instructions carefully using a torch. NEVER use a naked flame.
  • Light fireworks at an arm's length using a taper or firework lighter and always wear gloves.
  • Stand well back and NEVER return to a firework after it has been lit – it could explode in your face.
  • Ensure children are fully supervised.
  • NEVER throw or play with fireworks.
  • Keep all animals and pets indoors. You may have to keep your pets indoors on several nights when other displays are taking place.
  • Take care of sparklers, wear gloves and as soon as they are finished put them in a bucket of water.
  • Don't drink alcohol when setting off fireworks.
  • NEVER smoke near fireworks.

Bonfire Safety

  • Make sure the bonfire is in a safe place away from buildings and faces – secure the area and don't let children near.
  • Make sure there are no aerosol cans on or near the bonfire that could explode.
  • Before lighting your bonfire check there are no animals or children hiding inside.
  • NEVER use flammable liquids to light your bonfire.
  • Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving.
  • NEVER leave a bonfire unattended.
  • Have a hose or buckets of water on standby.
  • Try and go to an organised bonfire.

Travelling on Rural Roads

greenway-lane


The Carriageway
Rural roads can vary in width – from those with plenty of room for two vehicles to pass, to narrow lines where it is necessary to use passing places. The surface is likely to be less maintained than main roads – pot-holes, uneven levels and ill-defined edges may make it harder to control the vehicle. Visibility may be restricted by overhanging vegetation. Farm traffic may mean mud spread across the surface. All of these factors mean there is a need to drive with care, and to reduce speed.

The Verges
Technically, all the space between hedges, including the verges, is part of the highway. Our country roads often fulfil a similar purpose to pavement in towns – as safe, off-road refuges for non-motorised users. Sometimes they are obstructed – by parked vehicles, by stones or chains or other markers put up by residents, or by stacked building materials. Sometimes they are badly churned up by heavy lorries or farm vehicles.

Occasionally, motorists will need to take to the verge to allow other vehicles to pass: this should be done with caution, and it is always better to find a clear passing place. If at times it is absolutely necessary to park on the verge, care should be taken to cause the minimum obstruction – not near bends, or where parking makes it difficult to access gateways, or other places where it causes a hazard for others using the road.

Impatience
Impatience is a common failing, but there is little point on trying to hurry on rural roads. Usually, there is not much to be gained by that extra bit of speed or overtaking: as lie as not, the difference on overall journey time is almost non-existent – but there may be a big increase in risk.

Speed
Speeding, especially by cars and lorries, is identified by many non-motorised users as a major hazard. We have the odd situation where it is possible to drive along an A-road which has a 40 mph limit, then turn off onto a country road where the familiar sign tells us that the national speed limit (60 mph) applies. That speed may be legal, but that doesn't mean it is safe.

Remember the typical stopping distance given in the Highway Code for a car, in good condition: 12 metres at 20 mph, 36 metres at 40 mph, 53 metres at 50 mph. That extra distance may make all the difference when encountering a hazard or meeting another road user. And in a collision with a car, the pedestrian, cyclist or horse will always come off second best.

There is no single safe speed: the safe speed is the one at which the driver has control of the vehicle, and can stop when required. It is not necessary to crawl everywhere in first gear, it is necessary to adjust speed to the road and the conditions.

Courtesy
Another frequent complaint by non-motorised users is lack of consideration by motorists. Stopping at a point where a horse-rider can pass safely, maybe at a passing place, or where there is a wide verge: slowing down when passing cyclists, rider or dog walkers, and not forcing them to squeeze into the hedge – all these small points of courtesy are appreciated, and usually acknowledged. A country drive can be much pleasanter if there is eye contact and a friendly wave when meeting another road user.

fly-tipping

dog-owner-responsibility

Cheshire Rural Crime Team

As part of Cheshire's commitment to its rural policing it has a rural crime team supported by wildlife officers and PCSOs based in each rural community. The team also benefits from the support of volunteers within the Cheshire Special Constabulary.

Crime in our rural communities

These are some of the crimes that happen in our rural areas:

  • Farm machinery, plant and vehicle theft
  • Livestock offences
  • Fuel theft
  • Equine theft
  • Poaching
  • Fly tipping
  • Badger persecution
  • Bat persecution
  • Hare coursing
  • Raptor persecution

Good news
Officers from the Constabulary's Rural Crime Team based at Dragon Hall assisted in the arrest four people in connection with the theft of historic artefacts following a series of morning raids in Greater Manchester.
Archaeologists from Historic England's North West and Midlands's regional provided expertise and support for the police officers engaged in the searches.

courier-fraud

Staying Safe On Line

stay-safe-on-line

About one in four internet users become a victim of cybercrime. Many messages, which appear as a security threat, are actually designed to allow a hacker to get hold of your personal details.

  • Avoid becoming a victim of identity fraud – do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email, or phone numbers) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.
  • Most fraud starts with an email. Remember that banks and finical institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details – otherwise known as phishing. Always question whether an email could be bogus.
  • Only use legitimate sites when paying by credit card. If there is NO padlock in the browser window of https:// at the beginning of the web address to signify that it is using a secure link, do not enter personal information on the site. Using – "Verified by Visa" when paying by credit card online can also give you extra protection.
  • Criminals use popular sites like Ebay to attempt to take money from people. Use PayPal when paying for an item; it is secure, you have cover if the item doesn't turn up or is not as described up to the full purchase price including delivery and it costs the buyer nothing.
  • When logging in to sites such as Ebay always log in from your web browser by ty ping the address, e.g. www.ebay.co.uk into your browser bar, do not use links, email links or short cuts.
  • Ensure your password is secure and is not something that can bussed easily like your date of birth. Try to use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols that do not from a word.
  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date and firewall on at all times.

If you are suspicious then do not hesitate and contact the police on 101 or in an emergency 999

when-the-door-bel-rings

loan-sharks

identity-theft

christmas-home-security

christmas-home-security-check-list

ACTION FRAUD

On an ongoing note there continues to be a number of fraudulent scams reported purporting to be from organisations such as British Telecom, HMRC, TV Licencing and High Street Banks to name a few.
The below advice from Action Fraud gives details of how not to get caught out by scammers and contact information.

1. Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.

2. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes.

3. Many frauds start with a phishing email. Remember that banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Do not trust such emails, even if they look genuine. You can always call your bank using the phone number on a genuine piece of correspondence, website (typed directly into the address bar) or the phone book to check if you're not sure.

4. Sign-up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever you are given the option while shopping online. This involves you registering a password with your card company and adds an additional layer of security to online transactions with signed-up retailers.

5. You should regularly get a copy of your credit file and check it for entries you don't recognise. Callcredit, Equifax and Experian can all provide your credit file. An identity protection service such as ProtectMyID monitors your Experian credit report and alerts you by email or SMS to potential fraudulent activity. If its fraud, a dedicated caseworker will help you resolve everything.

6. Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on. Identity fraudsters don't need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.

7. If you receive bills, invoices or receipts for things that you haven't bought, or financial institutions you don't normally deal with or contact you about outstanding debts, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.
Stay in control, destroy your receipts and posts with you name on. If you receive a bill, invoice, or receipts for things you haven't brought or normally deal with, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.

8. Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering you business deals out of the blue. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always question it.

9. If you have been a victim of fraud, be aware of fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters pretend to be a lawyer or a law enforcement officer and tell you they can help you recover the money you've already lost.

10. If you need advice about fraud or cybercrime contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.


#OIL TANK SECURITY

How heating oil is stolen
In order to steal heating oil, thieves will usually decant, syphon or pump oil from your tank into other containers. Thieves might use this oil themselves, or sell it on. There have even been reports of criminals selling stolen oil back to the victim.

Opportunistic thieves might target tanks that they spot while out and about, whereas more organised criminals use tools such as Google Maps to identify homes with oil tanks in their gardens. Another tactic used by would-be thieves is following oil delivery vehicles in order to identify homes with full tanks.
Data from police forces across England suggests heating oil theft is most prevalent in the first three months of the year when tanks are likely to be full and the days are short. However, thefts occur year-round, so it pays to be vigilant at all times.
Choosing the right heating oil tank

When it comes to security, steel tanks offer a more robust storage solution when compared to plastic tanks. That's because plastic tanks can be easily drilled into in order to syphon off oil. Steel tanks are also heavier, and therefore more difficult to remove from your premises.

Locating your heating oil tank
When you are installing a heating oil tank, you need to find a balance between convenience, aesthetics and security while ensuring you are complying with all applicable regulations -- you can find out more about the applicable regulations on the OFTEC.

Installing your heating oil tank above ground outdoors
Most heating oil tanks are stored above ground outdoors.
To maximise security in this scenario, you should place your tank as far away from the road as possible. You don't want opportunistic thieves to spot your tank while driving by, nor do you want to facilitate a quick getaway.

Ideally, your heating oil tank should be visible from inside your home. The potential of being spotted is a huge deterrent for thieves. For more tips, see our section on securing your outdoor heating tank below.

Oil tank cages
Probably not suitable for everyone due to the amount of space they take up, but perhaps the best form of security available, an oil tank cage creates an extra physical barrier for thieves. It should fully enclose your tank while leaving enough room for maintenance and deliveries, and be bolted or concreted to the ground. Find out more about the best padlock to use below.



#FIREWORKS

The Fireworks Act makes it an offence to:

  • Let fireworks off in a public place. A public place is anything other than your own property such as parks, the street or at school.
  • For anyone under 18 to possess fireworks in a public place (other than a sparkler).
  • Possess public display fireworks by anyone other than a firework professional.
  • Set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am – apart from on 5th November, Diwali, New Year's Eve and the Chinese New Year, when the curfew is extended to midnight.
  • It is illegal for shops to sell fireworks without an appropriate licence. Shopkeepers must also display a notice for customers, explaining the law.
  • There is a compulsory training course and a 120 decibel noise limit for all those organising large public displays.


Firework Safety
Fireworks and bonfires can be a lot of fun but if not handled properly they can be dangerous. Always follow the fireworks code and keep yourself and others safe.
When buying fireworks look for the safety standard – BS7114 and check whether they are for use indoors, in their garden or for display.

The Fireworks Safety Code

  • Store fireworks in a sealed box or tin and out of the reach of children.
  • Use them one at a time, replacing the lid straight away.
  • NEVER put fireworks in your pocket.
  • Read the instructions carefully using a torch. NEVER use a naked flame.
  • Light fireworks at an arm's length using a taper or firework lighter and always wear gloves.
  • Stand well back and NEVER return to a firework after it has been lit – it could explode in your face.
  • Ensure children are fully supervised.
  • NEVER throw or play with fireworks.
  • Keep all animals and pets indoors. You may have to keep your pets indoors on several nights when other displays are taking place.
  • Take care of sparklers, wear gloves and as soon as they are finished put them in a bucket of water.
  • Don't drink alcohol when setting off fireworks.
  • NEVER smoke near fireworks.


Bonfire Safety

  • Make sure the bonfire is in a safe place away from buildings and faces – secure the area and don't let children near.
  • Make sure there are no aerosol cans on or near the bonfire that could explode.
  • Before lighting your bonfire check there are no animals or children hiding inside.
  • NEVER use flammable liquids to light your bonfire.
  • Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving.
  • NEVERleave a bonfire unattended.
  • Have a hose or buckets of water on standby.
  • Try and go to an organised bonfire.



#GOING ON HOLIDAY

Everyone needs a holiday some time but we all want to come home and find everything as we left it.
Almost half the burglaries happen when a flat or house is empty.

By following the tips set out here, you can help to make your home secure while you are away. Read the tips and plan ahead and tick off the items before you go.

Before you go

  • Make your home looks like someone is living in it. Cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries.
  • Avoid discussing holiday plans where strangers may hear details of your absence from home.
  • Cut the lawn before you go and trim back any plants that burglars could hide behind.
  • Uncollected mail is a sign that you are away. The Royal Mail's Keepsafe service will keep your mail for up to two months while you are away.
  • Consider leaving important documents and valuable items with other family members, in your bank or lock them in a safe.
  • Do not put your home address on your luggage when travelling to your holiday destination.
  • If you normally leave valuable pedal cycles or similar items in your shed, consider putting them in the house.
  • Finally, make sure that you've locked all outside doors and windows and, if you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set.


And just before you set off it's worth spending a couple of minutes checking that you've done everything you need to.

Help from neighbours
It's a good idea to get help from your neighbours. You could ask them to collect post, sweep up leaves, mow the lawn, open and close curtains, and so on. They could even occasionally park their cars on your driveway. Anything to make the place look lived in.

You can repay the favour by doing the same for them. Warn your neighbours not to put your surname, address or even your house number on your keys in case they fall into the wrong hands.

Let your neighbours know when you will be away and. If you can, give them details so they can contact you, or someone who can act on your behalf, in case of an emergency.

WHEN THE DOOR BELL RINGS

Most people that call on you at home will be honest and genuine in their purpose and needs, but on the odd occasion somebody will turn up unannounced with the intention of tricking their way into your house. Distraction burglars will often distract you at the front door whilst another will sneak into your property by the back. Rarely do people pop round unexpectedly anymore.

If the gas board calls to read the meter they will likely phone ahead or leave a card. Bogus work people may attend and claim that they are there to check on water or gas and some offer to repair your roof. Some call at properties and offer tarmacking or to clean your blocked paving and to cut trees down and if allowed into your property some may use the opportunity to steal from you. If you choose to have work done, never pay the work up front in cash. Victims usually find that they have had money or possessions stolen from inside their home and in many instances only realise they have been duped at some time after the crime has been committed.

So when the doorbell rings, always first check who it is before deciding whether to answer it. Use a spy-hole in the door or peep through a window to check who is at your door. If you are unsure open the front door with a chain fastened. If the person at the door claims to be an official, a salesman, or a tradesman then don't be afraid of asking them questions to prove their identity. If they claim to be from a company then the company name and contact the company to confirm their visit.

  • Never use a number the caller provides you with.
  • Check their ID or paperwork
  • Always ensure your back door is looked when answering the front door
  • Never keep large amounts of money in the house
  • Keep keys in a safe place hidden from view
  • Hide valuables away or in a safe.
  • Keep out of sight any documents displaying personal details

If you are suspicious then don't hesitate and contact the police on 101 or in an emergency 999.

MAKING RURAL ROADS SAFER

Introduction
Transporting agricultural machinery from one field to another via public roads is a necessity for most farmers. Whether it involves moving produce during the harvest season or relocating heavy equipment from one field to another, the only way to do this is by road. However, due to their size and slow moving nature, this can be hazardous to both agricultural vehicles and other road users.

Each year, incidents involving tractors and other farm machinery occur on public roads which can cause costly equipment damage, injuries and deaths to all groups of road users. In past years numerous people have been injured in road collisions involving agricultural vehicles in Cheshire.

Statistics have shown the group of road users most at risk from agricultural vehicles to be motorcyclists. In past years motorcyclists have been involved in road collisions resulting in serious injuries and fatalities.

All motorists must take responsibility for ensuring their own and each other's safety were agricultural vehicles are involved.

Advice and the law – Mud on the road
Farmers are responsible for cleaning mud off the road dropped on public roads by their own vehicle and livestock.
Mud can be a significant hazard to other motorists, particularly motorcyclists, and can result in serious, even fatal collisions.

Allowing traffic past when causing a tailback
It is inevitable that slow-moving vehicles will cause a tailback on public roads but it is important for the driver tom pull over and allows traffic to pass at the earliest opportunity.
Frustrated motorists may become impatient and attempt to overtake when it is not safe. They do this at their own risk.

Lights
Lights should be kept clean and in good working order to make sure that other road users can see the intended movements of the vehicle.

Amber warning beacons
Amber warning beacons can be fitted to tractors which are not capable of exceeding 25 mph to alert other motorists to the presence of a slow moving vehicle. Under certain circumstances it may be a legal requirement.

RURAL CRIME

Whilst Cheshire is a very safe place to live, work and visit there are occasions when unscrupulous people commit crime which are often undertaken when a criminal sees an opportunity.

There are simple measures you can take to reduce risk of becoming a victim of crime which help to keep both you, your family and the rural community safe.

What can I do to prevent myself becoming a victim of crime?

  • Lock and deadbolt external doors in your home, outbuildings and gates.
  • Use motion sensors and security lighting at night.
  • Ensure shrubs and plants are kept trimmed to allow full visibility around your property.
  • Visibly mark serial numbers on tools, equipment and vehicles.
  • Mark your property using forensic type property products such as Selecta DNA, and use appropriate signage to advertise this.
  • Never leave keys in vehicles, agricultural plant or other equipment.
  • Ensure your vehicles are locked and secure when not in use. Farm vehicles can be particular vulnerable to theft.
  • Keep outdoor storage areas neat and well organised so any theft will be immediately noticed.
  • Register your personal items of value on a free on-line database such as www.immobilise.com.
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crime-prevention

HOW SECURE IS YOU'RE SHED, GARAGE AND GARDEN

Many people take great care when securing their homes but pay little attention to the security of their sheds, garages or outbuildings that are often used to store valuable property.
Ensure your shed is in good condition and would stand up to a security test. If not, take steps to improve it or don't leave valuable items such as lawn mowers, golf clubs and bicycles inside.

Secure your shed
Use a closed shackle padlock not less than 2.5 inches in width, made of hardened steel with no less than five pins.
A standard small padlock with hasp can easily be forced or cut by bolt cutters.
The fittings should be bolted through the door of the shed and reinforced at the back with a steel plate.
The hasp should have concealed screws or coach bolts fitted.
Use the lock at all times.
Protect glass by fitting a grille or strong wire mesh to the inside of the window and fit locks to any window that can be opened.
Prevent anyone seeing into your shed by placing curtains or other coverings over the window or blacken out with paint.
Make sure that you can see your shed from the house. If it is obstructed from view a thief has a better chance of breaking in without being seen.
Mark valuable items with Smart Water.

Garages

  • Much of the advice for garden sheds also applies to garages. In addition you should consider fitting:
  • A drive post on the outside of an up-and-over door. It will stop the door being opened and is a visible deterrent.
  • Good quality closed shackle padlocks with hasp and staple on either side of the door.
  • Five leaver mortise locks to connecting doors if the garage is attached to the main building. Make sure the lock comply with British Standard 3621.
  • Fitting a simple, low cost, battery operated shed alarm to the door of your shed or garage will warn of any attempted break into your property and act as a deterrent.
  • Mark valuable items with Selecta DNA.


Deterring burglars

  • As well as making your property secure as you can also make it difficult for a thief to get it. Here are some simple steps:
  • Install security lights to illuminate the front porch and/or the garden. There are two types; lights that come on automatically, when it is dark and turn themselves off when its light or lights operated by sensors that come on when movement is detected.
  • Keep shrubs, hedges and large plants cut back. They can provide a screen for thieves to work behind.
  • Keep your boundary fences, walls and gates in good condition as they provide a barrier to the would-be thief. It is recommended that fences are maintained at a height of 1.8 m at the sides and rear of the house with gates that are lockable at the same height.
  • Keep an eye out on your neighbour's property and encourage them to do the same for you. Report anything suspicious to the police.
  • Consider setting up, or becoming members of a neighbourhood watch scheme.

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