POLICE patrols are being stepped up in a Teesside town, following a spate of burglaries.

Many residents are not taking the simple precaution of investing in a timer switch, leaving their homes in darkness, a common sign to burglars that there is no one in.

Hundreds of homes in Acklam, Middlesbrough, had warning leaflets delivered by police officers and street wardens yesterday advising people to adopt basic crime prevention measures.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: "A number of properties have fallen prey to intruders lately.

"Many have been seen as open invitations by opportunist thieves in the early evening darkness because home-owners have not taken simple precautions to light up and protect their property."

A crime prevention vehicle was also parked outside neighbourhood shops yesterday, with officers available to give crime prevention advice to residents.