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Don't make things easy for thieves.

Byline: Steve Edwards and Mark Stead

POLICE are warning people not to leave presents under the tree in full view of thieves - or else face a miserable Christmas.

Hundreds of presents are stolen every year by opportunists who spot them through open windows under trees or on the seats of cars.

More than 20,000 crime prevention postcards are being delivered to homes across Cardiff by community crime fighters to drive home the message.

And in addition posters and cards will be delivered to libraries as part of the campaign run by South Wales Police and Neighbourhood Watch.

The message is aimed at everyone shopping for presents to ensure that gifts are not left where they can be seen by theives.

Cardiff mum Emma Danks knows all about the pain of having Christmas presents stolen - gifts for her two young children valued at pounds 1,000 were taken from her sick grandfather's Ely home last month.

"I wouldn't want other people to experience that, " she told the Echo.

"At the time, I was really upset, but I have learned from this that you should not leave presents in full view under the Christmas tree, because if someone looks through the window, they will see them.

"It just isn't fair on people.

Even if you are insured, it's still difficult to replace what has been stolen.

"This campaign is a really good idea and I just hope people take notice of it, " Terry Flynn, chairman of the Cardiff Neighbourhood Watch Association, said: "A house burglary or a car broken into is always heartbreaking, but over the Christmas period it is so much worse.

"We would encourage people to take heed of our warnings to ensure a crime-free Christmas. There can be no worse way to start Christmas than by having all your carefully chosen gifts stolen by an opportunist thief."

Chief Superintendent Jeff Cooksley said: "This is once again an excellent initiative by Neighbourhood Watch without whom the work of the police would be a great deal more difficult.

"We have an excellent relationship with Neighbourhood Watch and I am very grateful for their contribution in Cardiff which is helping to reduce crime."

John Munton, spokesman for the Cardiff Neighbourhood Watch Association, added: "It is very important that everyone avoids having their Christmas spoilt by opportunist thieves.

"If everyone takes just a little bit of extra care by putting their presents and shopping out of sight there will be less opportunity for the thief to strike and for the Christmas celebrations to be ruined."
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 26, 2001
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