CRIME experts are urging homeowners to be vigilant this Christmas because thieves could easily ruin the festive celebrations.

Hambleton District Council's community safety officer, PC Simon Caukwell, said: "The only visitor we want in people's homes this month is Father Christmas.

"But to make that happen we need everyone to be on their guard. We want to make Hambleton's a safe, healthy and happy Yuletide.

"Christmas makes everyone a sitting target for thieves. And with the added lethal combination of alcohol, and food and toys in the home, there is no such place as safe houses."

PC Caukwell urged residents to check everything from home security to safety in the run-up to Christmas.

He added: "Christmas is traditionally spent at home among family and friends. But amid all the fun and activities, it is all too easy to forget about the simple things that can make or break Christmas.