BURGLARS in Sheffield are using sticks and poles to reach through letterboxes to steal keys to cars parked outside homes, police have revealed.
Detectives investigating break-ins say they have seen a recent spate of offences where burglars have ‘fished’ keys out of homes.
Residents are now being urged to step up their security to make it more difficult for offenders prowling around the streets.
Detective Inspector Rich Partridge said: “We are seeing a number of burglaries in Sheffield where keys are being fished from inside the home using a long pole.
“Alongside this, we are still investigating burglaries that have happened due to insecure doors and windows.
“I would urge residents to make sure their doors are locked and their keys are hidden, to prevent themselves becoming a victim of burglary.”
Since last month, there have been 25 break-ins where sticks or poles were used.
In half of the incidents, cars were stolen.
Last year 9 per cent of all offences reported to South Yorkshire Police were burglaries, with 8,101 reported - up 6 per cent on the 7,613 reported the year before.
DI Partridge said: “The burglars using the poles are opportunist. They are looking through windows looking for keys and if they are in easy reach they will place a pole through a letterbox and hook them out.
“If the keys are to the house they will simply unlock the door and walk in and steal your belongings, or if they are for the car outside they will drive away in it.
“Police are working hard – non-stop – to arrest offenders and lock them up but you can help us by reporting anything suspicious and keeping your doors and windows locked.
“People work hard for everything in their homes, why give it away by making life easy for burglars?
“Quite often they are using garden poles to reach through letterboxes, so if you see anybody walking down the street with one of these report them.”
n Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.