Neighbourhood Watch issues advice to minimise theft over Christmas

A recent spate of burglaries has been reported in West Tarring, Broadwater, East Worthing and Lancing and, as we approach Advent, it is worth remembering that December is the most common month for burglaries, with numbers peaking on December 23.

In the week before Christmas, incidents of home break-ins can be 28 per cent higher than the yearly average.

Tim Drew

Tim Drew

With many people leaving home to visit friends and family and the extra value of expensive gifts being stored in the home and in outbuildings, burglars can find the festive period their most lucrative time of year.

The top three items claimed for over this period are also popular as Christmas gifts. Bicycles are most likely to be stolen in a burglary, followed by mobile phones and tablets.

Christmas gifts will not necessarily be covered by home insurance so, although some insurers do offer an automatic increase over Christmas (usually up to ten per cent of the insured value), it is important to check your documents as policies can differ.

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Neighbourhood Watch provides the following advice in order to minimise the risk or consequence of theft:

Ensure that you dispose of packaging for expensive items discreetly, otherwise burglars will know you have valuables in your house.

Keep your curtains drawn so your Christmas tree and gifts are hidden from outside view.

If you store your Christmas cheer in your garage or shed, please ensure these buildings are well secured.

Ask a friend to look after the house if you are away, or use a device to switch lights on automatically.

Make sure the outside of your home is well lit.

Consider buying a burglar alarm or security light.

Keep receipts for valuable items in case you need to make a claim.

Check with your insurer whether you get extra cover for Christmas gifts.

If you see someone acting suspiciously around homes, dial 999.

• For more information about the Worthing & Adur Neighbourhood Watch Associations click here.

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