New Forest residents are reminded to leave lights on in their homes if they are going out in the dark winter evenings.

A house with lights on will help a property look occupied and deter burglars from attempting to break in.

The Safer New Forest Partnership is backing Hampshire Constabulary’s Lights On campaign this month with the distribution of crime prevention leaflets and posters in the district.

Cllr Jill Cleary, New Forest District Council Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: “The long dark winter nights are with us now and I would urge anybody who has to go out in the evening to make their property look occupied. Leaving a couple of lights switched on in your home will make it harder for burglars to spot an empty house.”

New Forest Chief Inspector Simon Tribe added: “Thieves are more likely to attempt to break in if they see a property in darkness. Make your home appear occupied if you are out in the evening, or for a longer period, by installing timer switches which will turn lamps and radios on and off in your absence.”

He also urged residents to check that all windows and doors, including outbuildings, back gates, garages and porches, are securely locked before you leave.

If you spot somebody behaving suspiciously in your neighbourhood, call police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

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.