Police chiefs in South Yorkshire are warning of burglars targeting homes in the run up to Christmas.
They are urging people to avoid leaving presents on display, warning that 'opportunistic thieves' are prowling the streets.
Residents are being urged to step up their security and to leave lights on when they are not at home to avoid making it easy for burglars to tell which properties are empty.
Detective Chief Inspector Jade Brice said: “Unfortunately, while many of you are looking forward to the festive season and are buying gifts or going out celebrating with loved ones, this is also the time of year when opportunistic thieves look to strike.
“Burglary and theft are horribly intrusive crimes that can leave victims feeling upset, vulnerable and afraid.
“It’s a sad fact that historically, one in four burglaries in South Yorkshire happen as a result of doors and windows being unlocked, which is a key part of our campaign every year.
“I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the following simple steps, which you can take to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime.
“Always lock your doors and close your windows, even if you’re at home. A thief will think nothing of strolling through an unlocked door, or reaching through an open window, and helping themselves to whatever they can easily access - we especially see this with two-in-one burglaries, where keys are taken quickly and vehicles parked outside stolen.”
DCI Brice added: “As we approach Christmas, consider where any presents - wrapped or unwrapped - are going to be stored. Are they in sight of a window? Could a potential thief see them? If so, ensure those windows remain locked, your property is secure and alarm activated.
“Similarly, dispose of any packaging carefully and discreetly as this could signal to burglars the new and valuable items you have inside your home.”