How Safe are your Ferrets?

by Ralph Bantoft, Retired Police Sgt

How many times in recent months have you heard politicians and senior police officers say that crime across the country is falling? Perhaps it is, but I suspect that this is not the case and with the current recession and summer period about to be upon us, crime will rise sharply as criminals take full advantage of warm summer nights.

So what can you do to give your ferrets the best protection? Will it be expensive? You can spend a fortune on security but if a criminal wants to get into any property, given the time and right conditions then he or she will gain entry and that's the last you will see of your little treasures or any other property for that matter.

Noise and light are the two main things criminals hate as both bring with them a better chance of being caught, so strengthen doors and windows on outbuildings, garden sheds, etc. Install an exterior security light which has a sensor fitted that lights up your shed or outbuilding; place it in a position where ladders would be required to access it. Plastic refuse bins make excellent 'climb on' items so don't make it easy for the criminal. Bins are often used to carry away heavy items and a strong but simple chain and lock around the handles makes it harder for your bins to be used in this way.

If you have a door on your shed or outbuilding that is badly fitted, loose and has a large gap between the edge of the door and frame, get it sorted so as to prevent anyone inserting a steel bar or strong screwdriver to gain entry.

A very good preventative measure is to place a steel plate around the area of the lock, held on with bolts rather than screws but PLEASE DON'T place the nuts on the outside as one chap did. He was rather annoyed when he lost a large amount of property and found a thank-you note from the villian for making it so easy for him! If you do choose to use screws, fill the slots on the head with a hard glue or fibre glass so as to prevent or at least slow down the criminal from gaining entry.

Steel plate, wire mesh and steel bar can be found in most scrap merchants and you can save a fortune. For locks, hasps and hinges I would advise you not to scrimp and get good quality ones. Your local crime prevention officer or beat officer will be only too willing to assist.

Fit coach bolts or nuts and bolts where ever possible; more so if your door has baton hinges, but please with the nuts on the inside. Coach bolts are best. It's not rocket science but a little bit of thought can save you a lot of heartache later.

Steel bars over windows can be fitted either on the outside, inside, or both: it's up to you how far you go.

If your shed or outbuilding is already well covered with security measures, your weak point may be the curtilage or boundary of your home. Low walls or fences, open or insecure doors and gates, the list is endless. Again your local crime prevention officer will assist you as to the best way to proceed; it's free and it could save you from becoming another statistic.

At times police forces offer a range of items that help to deter criminals, either free or at reduced prices. It only takes a second or two to gain entry to badly protected premises which perhaps could have been prevented had you implemented some basic steps to deter the criminal; the choice is yours.

Last of all, if you have mains electricity to your garden shed or outbuilding, a simple contact alarm fitted to doors and windows can be a good deterent. The louder the siren sounds the better! Car alarms run off a 12v battery or transformer. Consult an electrician if need be and please don't attempt to do it on your own unless you know what you are doing, otherwise you may get a bigger shock that you think or want and that's before the criminal attempts to break in!

(First published in NFWS News - #84 May 2009)