dear mr. [taxman] brian lenihen….

it would make you wonder...

it would make you wonder...

Dear Mr. taxman Lenihen,
I’m 32 years old and I own a landscape design [etc] company. I have been in business eight years now. To the point, may I ask what have you ever done in return for all the money you have, taken sequestered maybe, from me? You are always paid on time; You never give me discount; You never say thank you; You’ve never even sent me a Christmas card.

I work very hard. I’ve never taken stress leave. I may close down if I did. If I were to close down and start back up again – I may get grants. In fact, if I were to close down and sign on – I [theoretically and no offence anyone] would get a Christmas bonus.

The funny thing is if I were to waste your money doing your garden – you can choose not to pay me… and when I don’t have enough money I close down. However, if you waste my [taxpayers that is] money… you still get paid and then you ask, no take more increase taxation again… it’s not really very fair put in that context? But then who am I… ?

Yours Sincerley,
Peter Donegan

ps: if you do need your garden done please call 01-8078712. If you ring from your office, I’ll cover the cost of the phonecall.

crimes against the garden…?

cowboys... ?

cowboys... ?

When I spoke to a colleague of mine about writing an article on robbings in the garden he told me he had seen some himself, but moreso around the winter period. In hindsight I realise this may not be the most amusing opening line for an article but whilst garden theft achieves little or no publicity in the United States, mainly due to the fact that the US has no national crime watch for this type of theft, in the UK there are on average eighteen thousand reports [that are reported] of garden theft every year with British insurance companies adding further that one in seven gardens is burglarised every summer and that twenty five per cent of UK residents have suffered some form of theft from their gardens or outbuildings. The most popular item on the grab and run list is the hanging basket. This doesn’t sound like a lot and possibly quite a frivolous matter but at thirty euro on average per hanging basket [or an average price per theft reported] this equates to a minimum half a million euro per annum.

they took what...?

they took what...?

In Ireland it seems, somewhat similar to the states ‘we don’t keep any statistics for specifically garden theft – it’s all simply reported as theft’ according to the Garda Public Relations Office.

I performed my own research to find a list of sorts to give me an insight into the criminal mind and the damage they leave behind. Although quiet amusing, possibly, I had assumed that the results would be your usual plants and the garden shed style theft. It seems these garden invaders have gone to another level. In no particular order are the ‘offences’ list.

  • gentlemen robbing tropical plants
  • solar lights and clothes including the washing line
  • three garden gnomes, a fake stone sheep and a cow
  • strawberries
  • tree stakes – but not the tree
  • parents throwing their child into the back garden to get the ball
  • cuttings/clippings and flowers that would look good at home
  • furniture
  • wheely bins set on fire
  • courting couples


The point is that nothing it seems is safe. So again through my own personal research I’ve come up with some top tips for the crime crackers.

  • Buy good locks for the garage or shed and even within the shed hide the more expensive pieces under the old junk. Bolt up at all times. Out of sight is out mind.
  • Wire the shed to the alarm or security system and fit sensor lights to both shed and home front and rear
  • Check your insurance details, listings and small print
  • Fit and secure gates where possible
  • Secure ornaments or sentimental valuables to the ground as best as possible. Make sure you want them to stay there first.
  • Gravel paths and driveways are a noise making deterent.
  • Thorny plants are great in selected areas
  • Ensure your privacy doesn’t leave a place for the green – fingered robbers to hide in.


Whatever your lifestyle or the area you live in the general rule for garden design is that the front of house is for the neighbours to walk by whilst the rear of grounds is for the family. Any concerns you might have about security should be discussed with your garden/ landscape designer at the inception of your design. This will allow for security features to not only fit gently into your design but also into your landscape design budget.

the vanashing trailer act

where is that trailer...?

where is that trailer...?

To some of you this article will prove worthless. I [peter donegan]hope it proves of benefit. I wrote this for the farmers journal in 2006 but as is life in the editorial world sometimes it just doesnt enter the publication. I thought it was a great article and an email from my editor some time after confirmed that too. I should put it to some benefit I suppose.



Two months ago I purchased a ride on lawnmower, but it has never been used on any contract. I tried to buy a trailer to go with it but I couldn’t be sold one. Eventually I did buy one and it was such a nice feeling to hand over such a large amount of money for such a simple and well-built invention. The tailgate allowed us to drive up onto the back straight away but what happened to my latest acquisition? It evaporated, into thin air. I parked it at the back of the house and when I got up the next day, you guessed it in one – it was not there anymore! Magic? Mystery? I don’t think so.

When through my research for this article I put ‘trailers – stolen’ into a web search to my surprise the ‘theft of a 40-foot white box trailer and tractor unit, which was stolen from outside Irish Ferries at Dublin Port at the weekend’ was one of the headlines. Through my own sources two firms had informed me that they could not supply me with trailers of any size or form as their place of business had been cleared out of almost forty trailers within two weeks between them. It’s possible that this rapid transpiration of steel framed attachments was becoming somewhat of an epidemic. It seems the only way to prevent the theft is to make yours the most difficult to steal. Sources in the UK tell us that Trailers are being stolen to order. Logically, the obvious primary steps include installing a hitch lock, a wheel clamp and a driveway security post, but my opinion it that this is only a deterrent and that we need to go one stage further.

In the UK for any size of trailer (or anything of value to you) a system know as Thiefbeaters which involves applying a unique comprehensive identification including electronic transponders and microdots to hidden and visible locations on the trailer has been put in place. Each trailer is meticulously identified in up to 50 locations by various techniques and each location of the unique TB number is recorded. A record of the entire ID is kept along with six digital photographs. Furthermore, a registration document is produced complete with two colour photographs of each trailer they have identified.

With a 24-hour database service, this allows any police force to make necessary enquiries. A prospective purchaser of a trailer with a Thiefbeaters marking can also enquire to ensure the trailer is not reported stolen prior to any purchase. The estimated cost of which is approximately Three hundred euro.

John Friel of BDF Trailers estimates that “at least four trailers a day are taken in this country” of these John also points out that “most of the ones stolen in the south go north and vice versa”. John who with his wife Kathleen manages a business in North County Dublin also added that at present there is no company that install this tracking system in Ireland” that he is aware of.

Stolen trailers are almost impossible to recover with the main problem being that they are notoriously difficult to secure and may often have to be left unattended for long periods. It is recommend by some English insurance companies that trailers be fitted with a stolen vehicle recovery system such as ‘tracker’Tracking systems work via an electronic homing device which, when activated, emits a silent signal to dedicated equipment fitted in police cars and helicopters of every force in the UK. There are two different versions available: TRACKER Retrieve where the owner discovers the theft and TRACKER Monitor which will alert TRACKER HQ directly of any unauthorised movement, allowing them to quickly contact the owner and begin tracing. In January 2002 one UK insurance company reported their first theft of a trailer fitted with Tracker. The trailer valued at £30,000 and only 4 weeks old was recovered completely undamaged. Recorded CCTV pictures showed that the thieves entered the locked compound at 9.00pm and left with the trailer 45 minutes later. A Police aeroplane the following morning, 40 minutes after the theft had been reported, detected the Tracker signal. This trailer has since been stolen and recovered again by Tracker, 200 miles from home.So where does this leave me. I had a trailer. I now have no trailer. If I buy another trailer I could end up right back where I started. There used to be a time when a trailer could be left in a driveway or on a premise until the next time you needed it. It now appears this is something that can no more happen.