RESIDENTS are warned to keep their homes and vehicles secure after a dramatic rise in two-in-one burglaries.

Between November and February, there were 28 cases in Middlesbrough alone of incidents in which thieves broke into homes and stole the householder’s vehicle.

In 16 of the cases, the burglaries happened after thieves simply walked into the property through an insecure front door.

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In light of the spate of thefts, police are warning members of the public to make sure they keep their homes and vehicles secure.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Catherine Galloway of Middlesbrough Police said: ”Most burglaries tend to be opportunistic rather than planned.

"Burglars usually choose houses with little or no visible security and they will look for any opportunity to steal keys which are left hanging up or on a hall table or shelf. So it’s absolutely vital that you hide keys from view.

“Residents also need to make sure they take other simple crime prevention measures to ensure they don’t become victims of sneak-in thieves or burglary. Remember not to leave your doors or windows unlocked.

“In terms of keeping your car safe, never leave keys in the ignition, never leave house or car keys near a door or window, fit a tracker device and use your garage if you have one. Remember, you may not be covered by your insurance if you leave your vehicle unsecured and it is subsequently stolen.”

Anyone with information about the two-in-one burglaries should contact police on non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.