PEOPLE are being warned to lock their doors after police discovered a number of unsecure properties during patrols in Darlington.

New initiative Opportunity Knocks sees police visit properties in the town to offer advice to residents and allow them to get to know their beat officers.

PCSOs Raby and Jubb from the North Road beat team visited 238 houses last week and discovered 13 front doors left unlocked and nobody home but the dog in one house.

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A statement posted on the Darlington Neighbourhood Police Teams Facebook page said homeowners were leaving their properties vulnerable to opportunist burglars.

It said: “Last week, our officers were knocking on doors in an area where we have seen a disproportionately high number of burglaries, and checking to make sure that people are locking their doors.

“On one occasion, the homeowner had not only left their front door unlocked, but had left their car keys hanging on a hook just inside the front door.

“Police would like to encourage residents to get into the habit of locking their doors, even when they are in.”