Whilst most people and their families are putting up their Christmas decorations and getting in the festive spirit there are still some scrooges determined to ruin the season for others.

Statistics tell us that burglary increases during the winter months. Longer, darker nights create the perfect environment for burglars who are seeking to take advantage of empty or insecure homes.

Neighbourhood Sergeant, Richard Marshall is calling on the public to report any suspicious activity to the police to ensure a safe and enjoyable Christmas for all.

He said: “Having someone come into your home and go through your personal possessions can have huge financial and emotional impact on an individual or the whole family.

“We will continue to step-up patrols in our communities and I’m calling on the public to help us keep your neighbourhoods and homes safe.

“Having someone come into your home and go through your personal possessions can have huge financial and emotional impact on an individual, their family and friends.

“We know that most burglars are opportunists, so there are simple steps that can be taken to make your home less appealing.

“Be aware of your home security and build it in as part of your everyday routine. Locking a ladder away or a simple step like leaving a light on to make it look like someone is home could make all difference.”

Crime Prevention Advice – checklist

  • Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when just in the garden. And make sure you have approved locks or bolts to all doors and windows.
  • Never leave a spare key in a hiding place like in a plant pot or letter box – a thief knows all the hiding places
  • Register all serial numbers from electrical items, tools and garden equipment with Immobilise.com the free national property register. Mark items without serial numbers with an artificial DNA property marker such as Smartwater or SelectaDNA.
  • Use a timer to set lights to mimic your usual activity when you are not at home.
  • Do not open the door to anyone you don’t know or are not expecting. Always check by using a spy-hole or look through a window. Don’t trust an ID card.
  • Trim back any plants and hedges at the front of your property to no higher than one meter to remove hiding places.
  • Always report any suspicious activity, note any vehicle registrations, descriptions of persons involved and direction of travel.
  • Consider installing a monitored burglar alarm, and only use a company that is registered or certified with the NSI or the SSIAB.
  • Take photographs of all jewellery including hallmarks and keep them safe. Make sure that you have up to date contents insurance.
  • Keep all keys, purses and wallets out of sight and away from the letterbox.

Suspicious activity in your area? Report it.
Have you seen any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood? Call the police on 101 if you see any of the following:

  • Anything suspicious or anyone acting suspicious in your neighbourhood
  • Unknown or unexpected doorstep traders – description and dates are vital pieces of information
  • Unusual vehicles – vehicle description, registration numbers and direction of travel are vital pieces of information.

If you have any information about offenders or see something suspicious, please call Wiltshire Police on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. In an emergency dial 999.