Police are warning residents to make sure their homes and vehicles are kept secure after a spike in so-called 2 in 1 burglaries.
From 1st November last year to 10th February, there have been 28 cases in Middlesbrough alone where houses have been broken into and the householder’s vehicle stolen.
With 16 of the 28 burglaries happening after thieves simply walked in via an insecure front door, officers say householders should always lock their doors – even when they are at home.
And officers advise that house and car keys should always be placed out of sight since four crimes took place when thieves “fished” keys via the letterbox.
Many - but not all - of the vehicles taken were newer models in the 04-12 range, with a variety of makes and models stolen.
Members of the public across all four districts of the Force are being urged to take measures to prevent 2 in 1 burglaries.
Acting Detective Chief Inspector Catherine Galloway of Middlesbrough Police said: ”Most burglaries tend to be opportunistic rather than planned. Burglars usually choose houses with little or no visible security and they will look for any opportunity to steal keys which are left hanging up or on a hall table or shelf. So it’s absolutely vital that you hide keys from view.
“Residents also need to make sure they take other simple crime prevention measures to ensure they don’t become victims of sneak-in thieves or burglary. Remember not to leave your doors or windows unlocked.
“In terms of keeping your car safe, never leave keys in the ignition, never leave house or car keys near a door or window, fit a tracker device and use your garage if you have one. Remember, you may not be covered by your insurance if you leave your vehicle unsecured and it is subsequently stolen.”
A number of suspects have been arrested in connection with the 2 in 1 burglaries and enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.