TIM DREW: A time for Christmas cheer – and being vigilant

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WITH Advent just around the corner, it’s time to think about a few extra precautions in order to avoid Christmas being spoiled by those who would enjoy the season at others’ expense if given the chance.

When shopping, watch out for handbag or wallet-snatchers, who will pounce when you’re scanning the shelves, and don’t leave your vehicles in car parks after you have filled them with your Christmas purchases, as they are often then targeted by thieves who patrol these areas.

Bear in mind that some car remote control systems do not lock the car, so try the door handles to ensure that the doors are locked.

Thefts of bicycles from sheds and outbuildings still persist, and thieves know that many of us also store our Christmas cheer there. So, please ensure that these buildings are well protected – and, if your bike hasn’t already been secured to your satisfaction, why not treat yourself to a Sold Secure-approved ground anchor? Lastly, many people leave their curtains open to display the lights and decorations on their Christmas trees.

Unfortunately, this allows passers-by to look into your front room, where they can see any presents under the tree, as well as anything else of value. Every year, without fail, homes are burgled and presents stolen.

I have recently been advised of a new scam whereby emails purportedly sent by HMRC tell recipients that they are owed a tax refund before inviting them to click on a link and supply their bank details so that the refund can be sent there.

HMRC, of course, does not send such emails, so please be vigilant and don’t fall victim to these scammers.

• The Broadwater Neighbourhood Panel will meet on Monday, December 1, from 7pm to 8.30pm, at the Broadwater Parish Centre, in Broadwater Road, Broadwater. Then, on Thursday, December 4, the Goring Neighbourhood Panel will meet at the Worthing Leisure Centre, in Shaftesbury Avenue, Worthing, with the Central Ward Neighbourhood Panel meeting at the Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens. Both are from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.