POLICE are warning Wigan residents to take extra care in securing their homes to ward off opportunistic burglars on New Year’s Eve.
House-breakers take advantage of people letting their guard down in the holiday season and victims can return home from partying in the small hours to find that they have been raided.
Officers say that more than a hundred homes were burgled in Greater Manchester over the New Year party season last year.
But residents can reduce their chances of falling prey to thieves by following simple advice. It includes making sure they shut and lock all external doors and windows and activate the burglar alarm. Use lights, radios and timer switches to make the house look occupied.
It is also important to keep valuables out of sight from prying eyes and dispose of boxes that contained valuables received as Christmas presents by taking them to the tip. Leaving them outside the home is an advert to thieves of what might be inside the house.
Anyone going away over the holidays is advised to ask a trusted neighbour to open and draw curtains, park on the drive and keep an eye on the home.
Registering valuables on-line through the national www.immobilise.com database is free and makes possessions less attractive to thieves. The database is available to all UK police forces who use it to return lost and stolen possessions to their rightful owners.
Almost any item with a serial number recovered by police can be returned to the owner if registered on the database. Users can also add photographs and certificates of ownership to their Immobilise account. Once registered users can update their account with details of new possessions, and take off items they no longer own.
De Supt Mark Bell who leads Greater Manchester Police’s fight against burglars, robbers and thieves said: “Burglars expect people to be more relaxed and less cautious during the holiday season and take advantage of homes being unoccupied as people see in the New Year with friends and family.
“We will be visiting prolific offenders to warn them that we will be keeping a close eye on them and increasing overt and covert patrols in hotspot areas.
“Residents can play their part by following the advice given here to make sure they do not play host to any unwelcome visitors at this time of year.”