|Cheshire residents are being urged to be vigilant following a spate of burglaries across the county.
A series of homes, sheds, garages and businesses were targeted by burglars over the weekend.
Vehicles parked in front of homes were also targeted, with keys to the cars stolen from inside the properties.
The majority of the burglary incidents occurred in Warrington.
There were also a significant number of burglaries in Widnes, Runcorn, Crewe and Ellesmere Port over the weekend.
Burglary incidents also took place in Winsford, Wilmslow, Congleton, Macclesfield, Mere, Smallwood, Alsager, Chester and Frodsham.
Police are investigating the burglaries and are assuring residents that they are doing everything they can to catch the people responsible and bring them to justice.
They are also urging anyone with information about any burglary incidents in Cheshire to come forward and are appealing for residents to take action to reduce their chances of becoming victims.
Chief Superintendent Bill Dutton said: “The public can aid our fight against such crimes by contacting us if they see burglaries being carried out or anyone acting suspiciously in their area.
“Information in relation to anyone carrying out, or suspected to be carrying out, burglaries will also be gratefully received.
“Cheshire residents can also help us and themselves by making it as difficult as possible for criminals to break into their homes, sheds, garages and businesses.
“They can do this by following our anti-burglary advice.”
The force’s tips for deterring would-be burglars include:
Homes and vehicles
• Ensure that all windows are closed and doors are locked at your property, even when you are at home or in the garden
• Use security devices, such as steering locks, to keep vehicles secure
• Never leave your car keys, house keys, purse or wallet on display near a door or window
• Use the security measures on modern windows, which allow them to let some air in but still be locked
• Keep all valuables out of sight of prying eyes
• Always avoid keeping large amounts of cash in your home
• If you are replacing or fitting new doors and windows, get ones that are certified to British Standard BS7950 (windows) or PAS 24-1 (doors)
• Fit mortise locks (Kitemarked BS3621) to all front and back doors, as well as locks to all windows which are easy to reach
• Have a burglar alarm fitted, but make sure that it is installed properly and works.
• Never leave a garage, shed or other outbuilding unlocked and easy prey for opportunist thieves
• Fit strong padlocks to outbuilding doors and make sure that the doors are solid enough not to be kicked in
• Good external security lighting can put off or draw attention to a thief – the most appropriate form is high efficiency low energy lighting controlled by a dusk-to-dawn switch so that it only comes on when it is dark
• If you have external security lighting that comes on when sensing movement, make sure that the lights are directed downwards to prevent them from being annoying to neighbours and dangerous to passing traffic
• Strong fencing or gates will make it difficult for intruders to get onto your land
• Solid fences or walls, particularly those with a flat or rounded top, are relatively easy for a burglar to climb over – fixing trellising to the top can make it more difficult
• Check for weak spots where a thief could get onto your land, such as a low or sagging fence or a back gate with a weak lock
• A thorny hedge along the boundary of your property can put thieves off, as can gravel areas due to the noise of walking on them.
• Be aware of people loitering near your premises
• Be suspicious of people in vehicles watching the business, particularly if this happens more than once
• Be alert for the unusual, such as people looking nervous and anyone showing unreasonable interest in security or staff numbers
• Check the identity of non-customer visitors, such as alarm engineers, surveyors etc, and call the organisations they claim to represent before allowing access
• Encourage staff to think critically about weaknesses in security and discuss them with management
• Seek advice from specialist insurers and brokers
• Keep as little cash as possible in the premises
• Do not count cash within the view of anyone else
• Locate any tills away from entrance/exit doors – this lessens vulnerability to till snatches
• Transfer excess cash to somewhere safe – you do not need a large number of notes in tills
• Restrict access to the rear of counters by always securing lockable doors and counter flaps
• If large amounts of cash need to be banked or collected on a regular basis, the safest method is to employ a recognised cash carrying company
• Consider extra security equipment such as plastic till guards, smoke and dye money packs, a pneumatic cash transfer system, external access and time delay safes, counter caches, anti-bandit or bullet resistant glass and fast-rising screens.
Anyone with information about burglary incidents in the county should call Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or give the details via https://cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries .
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.