By Calvin at 09:19 GMT, 6 days ago
I had an email from a very concerned lady called Jane yesterday asking me about my views on various fence toppings and their effectiveness to keep out burglars. She also expressed her concern about the injurious nature of some of them.
This is what she said:
“I notice in your section on crime prevention in gardens you suggest the use of manufactured spikes. These are incredibly sharp and have you considered the danger to domestic cats? I saw a cat recently trying to walk along a wall topped with these and one of the spikes cut its pad. What is worse is that I don't believe for one minute they would deter a burglar - a coat dropped over them would solve the problem.”
Having owned a cat until quite recently I have sympathy for Jane’s concerns and sent back a reply straightaway.
I explained that my website (which I run as a hobby) has been written to provide guidance for all members of our community (some of whom don’t want cats in their garden) and to that end I bring people’s attention to the vast array of toppings that have been used to make fences more difficult to climb. I do my very best to ensure that the advice I give is within the law and as such my readers also need to know that some fence toppings require planning permission and warning notices.
Jane is quite correct about the weaknesses of some fence toppings and I have professional experience of incidents where a burglar has placed a coat over prickly plastic strip and broken glass. I’ve also been to scenes where the thief has cut away barbed wire and razor tape. I have only twice been to burglary scenes where trellis has been pulled down and in both cases they were not carrying thorny plants.
So, although I’m going to refresh my advice about fence toppings very soon, to remind us about the possible danger some might cause to animals and to give even greater emphasis about the usefulness of trellis, I would ask you to think very carefully about what you use on your fences if you don’t want to inadvertently harm your neighbour’s cat or Cyril the squirrel.
Incidentally, how many of you have made small holes in the bottom of your fence panels to allow hedgehogs to move in and out of your garden? We have the occasional visitor and the first clue I get to their presence is the sound of them sniffing away amongst the shrubbery. They are an absolute delight.