The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Burglars in the village

treasured marrowThere are quite a few burglaries in the village. Mainly the bigger houses. There is a spate and then nothing for months. Jewellery thieves hit our village a couple of months ago. They broke into our neighbour’s house (4 bedrooms) and stole a few precious pieces that were inherited from K’s mother. She had died just a few months before. As K’s husband said, the market value was small but the sentimental value was huge.

Danny was so incensed that the next time that our neighbours went away, he went in and switched on lights in different parts of the house a few times each day.
“I am determined to do everything to stop them being burgled again. But the car is such an obvious tell tale sign. Any burglar would realise that it hasn’t moved for days.”
“They could have employed a non driving house sitter.”
“In a village? With a wacky, twice a day, bus service?”
I took the point.

My mum always said to me.
“Don’t do up the front of the cottage. Once you make it look really cared for the burglars will call.”
She has a point.

There are some pretty little cottages at the other end of the village that were burgled a couple of evenings ago. Between 5.30pm and 7pm. As these are smaller homes, the village is up in arms.

It’s not just the stolen stuff. It’s the mess and the thought that someone has sifted through everything in the house. Invasion and trampling over privacy.

Suddenly we all feel that we might be the next target. Unused locks have been oiled and clicked into place. Heavy bolts have been fitted. It is war.

Chatting to John in the shop at midday he gave me a great tip for remembering the number plates of suspicious cars. Say the numbers out loud as a complete number – 343 becomes three hundred and forty three and link the letters to words that are familiar to you (i.e. DVL – Department of Vehicle Licensing). I saw ‘a suspicious car’ when I was driving home from work tonight and was able to write down the registration when I got home. A first! It was probably just delivering pizza but it could have been the get away car for the latest heist.

John did add that most burglars use cloned plates these days.

Our Farmer’s Rum is going to move to stage 2 tomorrow. I am so excited about the potential of this grog and I would be furious if it was nicked or merely trampled underfoot as they searched the airing cupboard for possible crown jewels. The giant marrow would be irreplaceable until next Autumn and the insurance company might not pay up.

Thank goodness Danny works from home and is accompanied by a posse of aggressive Min Pins and a Dachshund who would protect the companion vegetable with their lives.


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8 Comments

  1. Derek Nua

    If you use a Mac, there’s a great little program called EvoCam. It’s motion-activated and turns on the computer’s camera, and sends the images as emails to an address of your choice.

    Video too, it seems – here’s a YouTube video of a burglar caught on camera last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFqhGN_vzXQ

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kathyann,

    We now have a description of he burglar and his car! Just got an email.

    You must be a breath of fresh air for Kathleen. Those groups of youths are scary. Well done diminishing their presence.

    Hi Kate(uk),

    When I lived alone all doors were locked. We have started to do the same although D is here almost 24/7.

  3. It is a worry- we used not to lock doors here, but those days are,sadly, long gone.

  4. Its so awful when someone thinks they have the right to take other peoples property,they really are scum and its even worse if they use violence ! We are seeing too much of it going on all over the country.Kathleen our elderly neighbour had been burgled 3 times before we moved in,since we’ve been here she says she feels safer as we have 3 dogs and she knows if there is any one around . I’ve told her if we hear anyone at night I let the dogs out and she’ll hear them barking .we have had a problem with a particularlly nasty group of youths ,up to 30 or more,damaging cars ,drinking till they can’t stand up ,cursing and swearing at anyone who dares to confront them,bottles being thrown into the yard and urinating in the doorways ,fortunately a few of us stood up to them and kept the police informed of there hideouts we got the situation under control and it has been a lot quieter,thank god!! We too are now having to keep an eye on the chickens and geese at the allotment with christmas coming round again ! Kathyann at meg’s mum’s muffins

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat,

    Our gravel drive is a good deterrent as the dogs start barking if someone steps on it. Except when it is frozen and then there’s no crunch!

    Hi Sarah,

    Coming from London I have always been fairly security conscious. We are always locked in! We have window locks too. I hate the idea of someone rootling through our stuff.

    How interesting that your Min Pins go off duty at night and your cat takes over. Ours seem to be on the qui vie 24/7. The pup was barking at 4.30 this morning – probably at a passing cat.

    There was a spate of burglaries (years ago) where the gang would beat up the residents of houses that they broke into. Scary stuff.

    Thorny plants are a good idea – thanks for the tip.

    Hi Anne,

    Sorry to hear about the theft of your chickens. What a mean thing to do.

    Yes it’s the thought of someone casing the joint that makes one feel even more vulnerable.

    Take your point about living in a lock down environment.

  6. anne waller

    living alone,as i do, in the middle of nowhere this subject provokes a recurring fear. earlier this year – just before the local poultry sales – i had someone steal some of my best rare-breed chickens. they must have ‘cased the joint’ first because they took only the black and white birds. they were taken from their house, at night, and i didn’t hear a thing even though i sleep with windows open ( i kept the windows closed for a few weeks but couldn’t bear sleeping in a stuffy room in the summer)
    even though the chicken houses are away from the house at the top of the patch, it was still an ‘invasion’ in my opinion. i hated that someone had been observing me and mine without me knowing. i did feel terribly vulnerable. i phoned the police to tell them i had been burgled – not coz i thought they could get the girls back – so they were aware that there was ‘activity’ in the area. they were very understanding and gave me some general advice on security and safety – which had me in a haze of anxiety for several weeks………….
    there were other poultry thefts in the area for a couple of weeks and then things went quiet.
    over the months my security obsession has diminished – or it had until i read the post!
    just off to lock a few things, shut windows, hide the valuables in a less obvious place, buy a dog, fit security lights,alarm chicken house, teach cats how to attack on command, lay ‘bear traps on the veggie plot……… i could go on…. but i won’t. just as i won’t do any of the above coz i do not choose to live in a ‘locked down’ environment. if i lock a shed i forget to take the key with me (or lose it) and i am too conscious of the electric bill to leave lights burning if i am out. it is so dark up here that you can’t even see there is a house here unless you have a light on. my theory being that unless someone knows the house they would pass on by. not much of a theory i agree….
    mind you after discovering the remains of a mouse by my bed this morning i am offering 4 cats to anyone who has an urge to filch felines… my number is ……………..??

  7. I’m sad that the recent burglaries in your village have hampered your sense of securtiy; our homes and gardens should be a place of peace and relaxation.

    Pat wrote: “I think having dogs helps deter burglars too. We™ve only got cats and I can™t see either of them scaring anyone off.” —Well, Once my dogs are in bed/crates for the night, they are off duty! It takes a lot to get them to bark late at night. But the cat is a different story, when he wakes me up with his growling, I’m scared; his growl means someone (or a raccoon) is near the house.

    Our house is pretty secure…the gates to the back yard are locked, and of course all of the doors and windows are too. I try to make my home look like a tough one to get into, if the crooks are at all lazy they may choose the house down the street rather than ours.

    Thorny plants under the windows may help too, Chaenomeles and rose bushes are good security!

  8. I think having dogs helps deter burglars too. We’ve only got cats and I can’t see either of them scaring anyone off. But then again we don’t have anything worth steeling, but the cats.:)

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