POLICE are urging residents to be vigilant in the lead up Christmas.

Opportunistic thieves take advantage especially when presents are piled under the tree, expensive items left out on show, and doors and windows left unsecured.

DCI Paul Murphy said: “Over the festive period, we are encouraging everyone to make sure their houses are secure and take precautions to keep themselves and their homes safe. Don’t make it easy for criminals.

“Make this year a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons and consider the following steps to protect your home and belongings by locking your doors and windows every time you leave the house, consider putting lights on a timer if you are planning on spending time away, to give the impression that someone is still inside.

“Keep all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from letterboxes, remove valuable items from view on the ground floor- this can be as simple as closing the blinds

“Finally, be aware and look out for people acting suspiciously, reporting this on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

“We all like to enjoy ourselves over Christmas, but so please look after your homes and your personal belongings. If anyone has any information about those responsible, please tell us – by reporting it on 101.”