Officers from the Stockland Green neighbourhood team of West Midlands Police became aware that some individuals were taking an unofficial path through Highcroft Hospital to the Highcroft Estate.

In addition to a slight increase in burglaries in the area, neighbourhood officers also started to receive reports of suspicious behaviour.

In response to these security concerns, PCSO Carolyn Oates and her team starting to look at crime prevention initiatives to boost garden and home security around the Highcroft area.

PCSO Oates, who is based at Erdington police station, said: "We approached Hall's Garden Centre on Chester Road and told them about the problem and they kindly donated some Pyracantha plants - a method of natural defence against burglars.

"Some plants such as Pyracantha, which are fast growing with large spikes, can act as barriers and are a deterrent for burglars.

"It's a very simple crime prevention measure, but we hope it will stop people using this unofficial walkthrough and trespassing through the hospital grounds.

"We also hope to see a reduction in burglaries and anti-social behaviour as a result."

Stephen Lovatt, senior estates manager for Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust is pleased to work with the local police and Neighbourhood Watch to help make our communities safer. We will continue to do all we can to support new safety initiatives, and we would like to thank the garden centre for their kind donation."

The warmer months can traditionally see an increase in the number of 'sneak in' burglaries. By taking a few simple precautions, officers are advising residents how they can reduce the risk of being burgled and make their homes and gardens more secure.

You can visit the West Midlands Police YouTube channel to see quick fire top ten tips to keep your house secure & deter potential burglars.

Pictured (left to right) are: PCSO Carolyn Oates, Halls Garden Centre partner David Hall and PC Martin Thacker.