Homes and businesses in Lancashire have been advised to be increasingly vigilant over the coming weeks after a spate of burglaries occurred in certain parts of the county.
The towns of Clitheroe and Clayton-le-Moors have been particularly hard hit by the thefts, with several instances occurring in both locations, reports the Lancashire Telegraph.
Between March 1st and 25th, there were a total of ten burglaries in Clitheroe, in comparison with none at all in the same period in 2013. Homes in Balmoral Avenue, Primrose Road and Chatburn Road were among those targeted.
All of the instances took place at night or in the early morning, indicating these are the times when people in the area need to be on heightened alert.
Detective Inspector Eric Halford said: "Items stolen during the offences have varied and the offenders do not seem to be targeting any specific type of property as up to now they have taken jewellery, computer equipment and power tools."
In Clayton-le-Moors, one common tactic has been for thieves to aim to steal car keys from homes, before driving away in residents' vehicles that have been parked outside.
The officer added that burglars are taking advantage of homeowners leaving their doors either unlocked or open, presenting them with an easy opportunity to get inside. What's more, other residents are leaving their car keys within easy reach of the letter box, meaning thieves can grab them through the hole.
"As such, we would urge people to be vigilant and make sure they lock their front doors, even when they are at home," Detective Inspector Halford added.
Another option is to invest in a home alarm system, which can be set up to sound as soon as someone attempts to gain access to a home - even by pushing their arm or a rod through the letter box.