With the nation’s sheds now coming back into use as the sunshine makes an appearance, M&S Bank is warning people to look after what’s inside them.

A third (33%) of people with a garden shed admit to leaving it unlocked, according to a survey, despite the average shed contents being valued at £550, while one in six say their shed is housing more than £1,000-worth of items, such as gardening goods and equipment.

Nearly a third (32%) say either they or someone they know has fallen victim to theft or damage to items stored in their shed, while more than one in ten (14%) UK adults say either they and/or someone they know has had their garden greenery damaged or stolen.

Meanwhile, 51% didn’t know whether their garden is insured, with just 10% confident that their plants, bushes, shrubs and trees were covered under their home insurance.

Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank, said: “People often invest significant time and money into their garden, and the value of items, whether in the shed or in the garden itself, can quickly mount up.

“That’s why it’s surprising that a significant proportion of home owners still don’t know whether they have adequate cover for theft or damage to both the shed and garden, should the worst happen.”

Here are his top tips on securing your garden this summer:

  • Fix a good quality lock or padlock on the door of the shed, as well as any garden gates.
  • Fit locks to windows and ensure they are kept shut.
  • When not in use, ensure the shed is locked, especially at night.
  • Lock belongings in the shed overnight after use such as barbecues, bicycles. While insurance varies, items left in the garden may not be covered for theft.
  • Don’t leave expensive items in direct view, where they can be seen by thieves. If possible, fit a blind over windows so that contents cannot be seen.
  • Install automatic security lighting in the garden.
  • A prickly hedge around the garden can help to deter intruders.