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Don’t ‘present’ burglars with an opportunity

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When it comes to buying Christmas presents, more than two in five (42 per cent) will have everything ‘wrapped up’ by 22 November, according to new figures from The Co-operative Insurance.

A further third will be hitting the shops between 23 November and 6 December. The average amount consumers will spend on gifts is £437, however 6 per cent expect to spend over £1,000 on gifts this Christmas.

To help people keep their valuable presents safe this Christmas, Co-op Insurance spoke to ex-burglars to find out what put them off when it came to targeting homes in the past as thefts are most prevalent in the winter months, increasing by 38 per cent.

Motion activated security lights are most likely to put would-be burglars off, with 26 per cent steering clear of homes with these installed. CCTV cameras are also a useful deterrent with 22 per cent of potential thieves wanting to avoid houses with these in place. A total of 15 per cent are fearful of dogs, with barking making them walk away, while professionally monitored burglar alarms were avoided by 11 per cent.

Noisy gravel driveways and ‘Beware of Dog’ stickers aren’t a successful turn off for brazen burglars, who are more likely to try their luck than turn around. When asked, ex-burglars said common mistakes home-owners often make included shutting the curtains when they go away, leaving post protruding from the letter box and leaving things on show.

Jonathan Guy, head of claims at Co-op Insurance, said: “As Christmas approaches, houses begin to fill up with valuable items, all of which are desirable to thieves, which many people have saved up for months to afford.

“Many people will be visiting their nearest and dearest over the holidays but nobody should have to deal with somebody entering their home and stealing their possessions. Simply installing a security light outside the home can deter burglars from targeting properties. If you are going away you could ask a family member or neighbour to visit your property while you are away to keep a check on things.

“While insurers increase cover limits on the items in your home by 10 per cent at Christmastime and during other religious festivals, prevention is always better than cure and a few simple steps can ensure nobody has a ‘Blue Christmas’ this year.”

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