The Home Office has prepared some common sense top tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim of burglary. These are:


1. Fit strong locks to external doors, and make sure they are locked at all times. External doors should have a lock which can be locked by a key from both the inside and the outside, either a mortice deadlock with five levers or more, or a surface mounted rim deadlock. A key operated multi-point locking system which will secure the external door at the top and bottom of the door as well as at the centre. Sliding patio doors and exit doors should be fitted with good quality locks and security bolts, and an anti-lift device. At least one key operated locking device, for example a padlock, on the garden shed. Fit locks to all ground floor opening windows


2. Always remove all keys from inside locks, and keep them out of sight and in a safe place.


3. Fit sturdy deadlocks (British Standard BS3621) to all doors.


4. Make sure your doors and frames are strong and in good condition - wood doors should be at least 44mm thick.


5. Mark your property - having it marked helps police verify it's been stolen.


6. Fit a door chain or bar and door viewer (spy-hole), and use them.


7. Never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place such as under the doormat, in a flowerpot or behind a loose brick - thieves know to look there first.


8. When you are out in the evening, leave your lights on and shut the curtains.


9. Install outside security lighting; if other people can see your property a burglar may think twice.


10. Keep your tools and ladders securely locked up - a burglar could use