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Try superglue under the rim of the pot, laced with broken glass. Most casual thieves wont use gloves and the blood they spill and leave behind, is evidence, which if they are caught, will prove their guilt. One draw back though, you could be sued by the thief! Otherwise the steel cable method is probably best.
My method has been to balance empty glass bottles upside down against the back of the pots, a makeshift alarm so if anyone tries to take one I can jump out and give them a good old earful! (although it does make you paranoid everytime you hear a glass bottle). Not had any thefts since I set those up.
Fix them to the floor somehow or make them very heavy. I'd be wary of supergluing anything sharp to the pots/using barbed wire as you would be liable for any injuries caused to a potential thief (unless you had clearly signposted the dangers). That could cost you quite a bit - imagine if they got tetanus for instance.
The only guaranteed way to stop thieves is to not put anything there for them to steal
I must be really lucky. I have lots of pots , troughs and baskets in my front. Some right on the pavement and none have been taken- or is posting this tempting fate?
Potty gardeners - It could be you live in a nice area, I thought I did until my green recycle bin went missing followed by the black one...and both had the house number painted on the side...
Just got to go through the streets looking for houses with your number Zoomer.
I would not put glass or anything damaging under pots for the sole reason is that it might be you who forgets what is under there and you badly cut your own hand.
I used to have problems with teenagers using my old garden as a cut through (it was not fenced or hedges). Shouting at them did not work, a fence did not work (they lifted up the wires), so I put anti-vandal paint all over it, took one look, tried and it covered them in glue like stuff and they never came back. You could put that under a pot but as per my original paragraph - it could be you lifting that pot and that sticky paint all over you...
The easiest and best way to secure a planter or pot I reckon is to use a dog retaining screw thing, place in empty pot first, screw in through the bottom hole until fully inserted then getting someone to hold the pot aloft while you screw the screw in the ground.Easy to implement and costs around £3 and no chance of being sued, unless the thief thinks you should pay for his self induced hernia.