GARDEN shed crime is on the rise in North Yorkshire villages and is expected to increase in the next few weeks with the arrival of spring, warned Inspector Neil Burnett, of the force's Eastern area.

He said that 13 sheds were broken into during a three night period in the Welburn and Foston areas.

At Wintringham, a suspicious van was found to contain the contents of three garden shed raids. The haul consisted of lawnmowers, hedgecutters and strimmers Insp Burnett said.

Now, every victim of a shed theft is to receive an infra-red alarm and a key code which were purchased through the Community Safety Partnership.

"While most householders take considerable precautions to safeguard their homes with locks and alarms, very often outhouses and sheds are left unlocked, even though they could contain garden equipment worth between £2,000 and £3,000," he said.