Richmondshire residents have been urged to take steps to avoid being a victim of burglary this winter.
The message comes from the Richmondshire neighbourhood policing inspector, Martin Metcalfe.
He said it only took a minute to lock your doors, but took a lot longer to replace belongings if you become a victim of burglary.
He added: “As the end of the year draws near, take some time to check your home’s security – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“Don’t advertise your lovely new presents – either by posting photos on social media of that new gadget or gaming device you got, or by leaving their packaging by your bins.
“Make sure your front and rear doors are shut and locked – both when you leave the house but also on your return. We’ve found most burglaries happen via unlocked doors as opportunistic thieves seek out any opening that they can take advantage of.”
The officer said the most common items taken in a burglary were car keys, cash and bank cards so he advised residents to keep them out of sight and not within reach of windows or letterboxes.
“If you have a keyless entry system for your vehicle, then a cheap and effective way to prevent the frequency being relayed is to put them in a signal blocking box or pouch.
“Consider installing external lighting – makes coming home and leaving in the dark safer, but it also acts as a good deterrent for burglars too! Having your lights on a sensor so it activates at dusk to dawn is ideal.
“Use a timer to switch on lights to make the house appear occupied, even when it isn’t – LED energy saving bulbs can help keep the cost down and reduce fire risk as they don’t heat up.
“Remember that crime is extremely low in Richmondshire, so let’s do our best to keep it that way.”
The officer reminded residents report any suspicious activity via the police website, or call 101.
In an emergency, call immediately on 999.