POLICE have repeated a warning for people to beware of a rise in burglaries and thefts of gardening equipment.

Warmer weather and lighter evenings are bringing out criminals, as well as gardeners, and police are urging people to increase security.

Police in the Durham City area have already urged people to watch out for thefts following several incidents.

Now their colleagues in Sunderland have echoed the warning.

PC Neal Smith, of Sunderland Area Command, said: "As the warmer weather and lighter evenings approach, there is often an increase in shed and garage burglaries.

"People often don't realise the value of the goods inside and leave outside storage areas insecure.

"If your shed only has a few broken pots and seed trays, then closing the door with a bent nail might be adequate.

"But, if like so many people, your shed contains valuable items such as bikes, barbecues, a lawnmower and power tools, then the value can often add up to at least £500.

"It's worth spending a little on simple security devices."