Don’t help burglars break into your property by leaving tools lying around outside when you’re not at home.

Safer New Forest Partnership warns that opportunist thieves are on the lookout for quick and easy access to houses – and ladders, garden and DIY tools left in the garden or outbuilding are an open invitation to burglars.

Residents are urged to take simple security measures to prevent them from becoming burglary victims. These include:

  • Locking away any household items which could be used to gain entry to your home – ladders, tools, garden spades, etc.
  • Clear piles of bricks or rubble away and remove dustbins from view.
  • Keep all outbuildings – sheds, garages, stores – securely locked. House doors, windows and patio doors too.
  • Make sure your outdoor security lights and burglar alarm work properly.
  • Mark your property, tools, lawn mower with your house number/name and post code.
  • Secure your gates to keep intruders out of your rear garden and mend any broken fence panels.
  • If you’re on holiday, ask a neighbour to look out for anybody behaving suspiciously and report it on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
  • Don’t leave your curtains closed during the day, but remove all valuable items, such as laptops, jewellery boxes, from sight through your window.
  • Consider installing timers to switch on lights and the radio if you’re away in the evening.

Cllr Jill Cleary, New Forest District Council portfolio holder for housing and communities, said: “It only takes a minute for a thief to enter your home if you leave your back door or a window open. Always lock your doors, windows and side gates to your back garden. Lock away all garden tools and ladders in the garage or shed and use an alarmed padlock if possible.”

The Safer New Forest Partnership offers residents a high quality alarmed padlock for £10 which can be purchased at New Forest District Council information centres.