WIMBORNE homeowners have been left upset by brazen burglars who are targeting their gardens.

As reported in the Daily Echo, seven properties in Pottle Walk were burgled in just a week at the end of May.

However, the problem is believed to be more widespread, with other addresses on the Water's Edge development, as well as properties further afield, also affected.

Burglars are stealing garden furniture and ornaments, barbecues and children's toys.

Police investigating the offences say the thefts are happening at random times, including during the evening and in broad daylight.

Charlie Geraghty, who lives in Hardy Crescent, said burglars looted two Chihuahua ornaments from a memorial garden at her property.

The 23-year-old said she has been frightened to go to sleep after the raid.

"My dog Milo passed away last March," she said.

"I had him for three years, and he was only four and a half when he died of a brain tumour.

"He was like my therapy dog. I have Asperger syndrome, as well as depression and anxiety.

"I made a memorial garden for him because I miss him so much. I'd spent quite a lot of money making it lovely but the burglars took two Chihuahua ornaments from the garden.

"After it happened, I couldn't get to sleep - I just couldn't settle.

"The ornaments meant a lot to me and I'd really love to have them back."

A spokesperson for the Wimborne Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “The team is conducting increased patrols, with colleagues out of the area also assisting us.

“We’re very grateful for any calls that we receive informing us of any suspicious activity.

“This helps us build a picture of when these crimes are occurring.”

Officers are giving residents crime prevention advice on visits to affected areas.

"If possible, any equipment should be locked securely in a shed or garage," the spokesperson said.

"If the items are too large or awkward for this, for example tables and chairs, we would advise homeowners to chain them together and chain this to the fence."

Residents are also being advised to grow "prickly plants" such as barberry, roses or hawthorn near fences.

Anyone with information on the burglaries is asked to call 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.