POLICE chiefs are warning homeowners to keep the sneak thieves out now the clocks have gone back.
Durham Constabulary said the longer days can draw in thieves looking to target homes and have issued a host of tips to keep them out.
As well as keeping doors to homes and sheds secure, police are advising people to not leave keys on benches, window sills or key racks near doors or letterboxes.
Bikes, toys and garden tools should be locked up overnight, and those with gardens are advised to not leave items including barbecues, patio furniture and garden ornaments out.
Property should be marked, and checks of the home, garden and vehicles should be made before going to bed.
Chief Superintendent Ivan Wood said: “The Durham Constabulary area is one of the safest places to live and work in the UK, and by working with the community, we intend to make it even safer.
“In addition to issuing seasonal crime prevention advice, we have a number of ongoing initiatives to continue to keep County Durham safe.
“These include Forecourt Watch to tackle fuel thieves and Shopwatch to target retail crime and counterfeit currency. We will be actively promoting the value of Neighbourhood Watch schemes and encouraging more people to get involved.”