Police: use a sign to warn burglars about expensive tools
Police told a man worried about his shed being burgled to put up a sign warning thieves that they could get electrocuted if they tried to pinch his valuable equipment.
7:00AM GMT 19 Feb 2011
David Bishop was given that advice after attended a police meeting in Tatsfield, Surrey, following a string of shed burglaries in the surrounding area.
Police previously told residents they should use 'good quality locks and bolts' and not resort to use home-made devices like putting wire mesh around shed windows as burglars may 'hurt themselves' and sue for compensation.
But this week, Mr Bishop a former BBC engineer in his 60s, said that he had approached a PCSO after the meeting to find out how he could protect his electrical gear, which is worth thousands of pounds.
Rather than being given sensible advice about how to store the valuable equipment - some which carry up to 30,000 volts - Mr Bishop says he was told to put up a fluorescent sign to warn crooks they were 'in danger'.
He was told that the best sign to use would be a yellow sign with 'WARNING - ELECTRICAL TOOLS' written on it - and just in case the burglar didn't get the message - or couldn't read - he was also advised to add a 'lightning bolt' to indicate the danger.
Mr Bishop was also told the sign needed to be fluorescent as 'most burglaries happen in the dark'.
Speaking this week Mr Bishop said: "Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?
"I am an engineer and obviously from time to time I have test equipment."
He added: "The police already told me that I shouldn't have wire on the windows as it may hurt the burglars, so I asked a PCSO 'What do I do to protect my equipment?'
"That's when I was told to make a sign warning people there were electrical goods inside.
"I couldn't believe it - and then I was told that it might be an idea to make it a sign that could be seen in the dark."
He added: "It could be potentially dangerous for anyone that broke in. Not for me, because I know where the on and off switch is, but someone breaking in could be killed.
"The law is so stupid, and you never know what decision judges are going to make.
"People do get fed-up with these people trying to help themselves to things which you have worked hard to gather together during past years."
"We have a right to protect our property - criminals have far too much protection."
Crime reduction officer for the area PC John Lee, said: "We are constantly advising homeowners to protect their property and the contents of their shed or garage, however, a commonsense approach needs to be taken.
"To properly secure your sheds, Surrey Police strongly advises people to invest in items such as good-quality locks and bolts, and not to resort to homemade devices, as this could cause injury."
Surrey Police did not wish to comment on the warning sign.