If you’re going away, keep burglars at bay

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People with plans to go away this Christmas are being urged to take precautions to reduce the risk of being burgled.

Criminals are more likely to target homes that are in darkness and where no one appears to be in but there are ways of making your home look “lived in”.

Special Constable James Chatfield, who is also senior negotiator at Thomas Morris property sales and lettings in Ramsey, said: “No one should be afraid to leave their house and the likelihood of being burgled is low, but there are precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of becoming a victim even further.

“If you’re going away or just leaving your home unoccupied for a few days this Christmas, it’s worth making your home look less attractive to a burglar.”

SC Chatfield offered the following advice:

- Use lights on timer, including one in a hallway where it can be seen. A radio can also be left on timer

- Ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your home when you are not in. You could also ask them to open and close curtains, morning and night, or park their car on your driveway so it is not empty

- If the bins are due to be collected, ask your neighbours to move them on and off your drive for you

- Cancel newspaper and milk deliveries

- Ask for postal deliveries to be pushed fully through the letter box

- If your Christmas tree is visible from the outside, put the lights on a timer. It is obvious you are away if there is a tree with no lights on

- Make sure presents and valuables are out of sight while curtains are open

- Put the heating on timer so steam can be seen coming out of the flue. Leaving the heating on can also prevent pipes from freezing, which can be very costly if they burst. There were lots of cases of this last year

Visit www.getclosertochristmas.org for more crime prevention advice this Christmas.

Or for more information on how to secure your home and property log onto the Home Office website - www.homeoffice.gov.uk or the Crime Reduction Website - www.crimereduction.gov.uk.

Anyone with information about burglary should contact police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.