SECURITY checks are being carried out on houses in an area of Darlington where residents have called for protection from burglars.

More than 250 council houses in the Minors Crescent and Whitton Crescent areas of Cockerton are being visited by Darlington Borough Council's uniformed wardens.

The officers are offering to carry out inspections of home security, giving advice and making recommendations for any work that needs to be done to improve security.

If the tenant agrees to work being carried out, the council will pay for security measures including window locks, door locks, security lighting and smoke alarms.

In total the council will spend £30,000 carrying out the work in Cockerton to help to prevent burglaries in the area.

Part of the budget will also be used to remove hedges or fences that are often used by criminals to screen what they are doing.

Paul Baldwin, the council's cabinet member for housing, said; "Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure in their own homes.

"Residents in this part of Cockerton have voiced their concerns to the council and we are responding to allay those fears.

"The police tell us that many burglaries occur where homes are not secure - and these burglaries can be prevented - so we are hoping that our security work will have an impact.

"Our uniformed wardens are experienced in crime prevention so they will also be able to provide residents with the type of advice they need on home security."

Chief Supt Michael Banks of Darlington Police welcomed the work to make homes near the town centre more secure.

He said: "We know that 25 per cent of burglaries occur in homes with insecure windows and doors.

"These thefts are preventable by residents employing simple security measures.

"This council initiative will ensure houses have these security measures and if they are used it could cut the number of burglaries."