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Be jolly careful.

Byline: Joanna Desira

Teessiders are being urged to be extra vigilant over the festive season after burglars stole Christmas presents in a series of raids.

Cleveland Police said cars and houses had been targeted by burglars who had taken Christmas gifts.

Now crime prevention officers are urging people to take a few simple steps to help beat the burglars.

Crime prevention officer Gerry McBride said: "Historically burglars prey on empty homes during the festive season, hoping to get away with valuable contents and even the wrapped presents from under the Christmas tree.

"Generally at Christmas we spend more time away from home, whether it's for shopping, parties, visiting families and friends or going away on holiday to somewhere a little bit warmer.

"Please remember to take a few simple precautions which will help prevent you from becoming another Christmas crime statistic."

Householders should:

* Tell neighbours if they are going away and ask them to keep an eye on their home;

* Set timers for lights and a radio, keeping the volume low;

* Keep presents and valuables away from windows and outside viewing;

* Lock the car in the garage. If they can avoid it, do not leave it parked outside the house;

* Cancel newspaper and milk deliveries;

* Check with their insurance company that the policy covers the additional value of purchases made over Christmas;

* Ensure there is an efficient burglar alarm installed;

* Lock all external doors and use window locks where possible;

* Fit low-energy dusk until dawn external lighting;

* Even if at home keep doors and windows locked. Almost 25pc of all burglaries are through unlocked doors and windows.

Crime prevention advice and security products are available from all major police stations.
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 16, 2004
Words:280
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