* M&S policy provides unlimited cover for garden greenery, theft of property from a shed and items in the garden

As the clocks go forward this weekend and many Brits look forward to getting back out into the garden, M&S Home Insurance is reminding householders about the importance of garden security.

According to a survey by M&S Home Insurance, 17% of people with a garden know someone who has had plants, bushes, trees or shrubs stolen from their garden.

Plants are also a favourite target of vandals – 10% of people have had plants, bushes, trees or shrubs in their garden maliciously damaged.

The survey found that the average shed contains £888 worth of property, making them a prime target for thieves. However, almost a quarter of shed owners (24%) have failed to take steps to secure their shed, such as using a lock on the door.

M&S Home Insurance covers for loss or damage to plants, bushes, shrubs and trees in the garden. The policy also provides unlimited cover for theft of property from a shed. Policyholders must take reasonable steps to ensure they have secured their shed.

David Wells, M&S Head of Insurance, said: “Many householders invest a great amount of time and money in their gardens. It’s therefore surprising that so many people fail to take simple security steps to deter thieves and vandals.

“Before you get back into the garden this spring think about how a thief might get into your garden and take steps to reduce the risk. It’s also wise to check that your home insurance policy covers property in your garden and shed. Remember that even if you do have insurance, unless you secure your shed, any claim may be invalid.”

M&S Home Insurance urges garden and shed owners to take the following security steps:

* Ensure that items of high value are not left unattended in the garden
* Where possible fit all outbuildings and sheds with good quality locks and replace plastic windows with glass
* Fit security lights to the side of the house
* Ensure that keys to outbuildings and sheds are locked away to ensure burglars can’t easily find the keys and gain access
* Where items of high value, such as garden heaters or barbecues, are left permanently outside ensure these are anchored to the floor or other permanent structure so they cannot easily be removed.

Home Insurance is available by telephone on 0800 068 2742 and online at M&S Inssurance

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