POLICE in North Yorkshire are launching county-wide anti-burglary patrols in the run-up to Christmas – and are urging residents to secure their homes.

Officers will be on the look-out for vulnerable properties, including those with unlocked doors, and will leave a calling card if they spot any homes at risk.

Around a third of all burglaries committed in the county are carried out at insecure properties where people have left a door or window unlocked.

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And officers want to drive home the message that something so simple as locking the door, closing and securing a window - even when at home - could help prevent a burglary.

Detective Inspector Ian Dyer said: “Burglaries increase at this time of the year and over the past few days we have seen a spate of burglaries.

“With Christmas just a couple of weeks away, thieves know homes will be filled with expensive gifts and will be on the lookout for unlocked doors and windows, gifts on display under the Christmas tree and houses left in darkness.

“By taking the most simple, basic steps to protect your belongings, you can stop a thief from ruining your Christmas.

“It’s worth stopping to add up the total value of your belongings, then compare that with how much you have invested in protecting them. It’s probably very low in comparison.”