AVON and Somerset Police is urging people to be extra vigilant after noticing an increase in burglaries and car thefts.

Thieves are breaking into people's homes, often in the early hours of the morning, to take car keys to steal vehicles.

Recently, this type of burglary has happened in:

  • Backwell, Failand, Flax Bourton, Long Ashton and Nailsea;
  • Radstock and Midsomer Norton;
  • Cheddar;
  • Wells.

It isn't just high-value cars thieves are taking, either. Whilst some of the stolen cars have been recovered in the greater Bristol area, others still remain missing.

This month, around one burglary of any type has taken place in each of the force's neighbourhood policing areas.

A spokesperson from Avon and Somerset Police said: "We've seen a recent increase in overnight burglaries by thieves taking keys to steal cars. Please lock up when it gets dark, and call us if you see a burglary in progress."

In order to tackle this problem, police are carrying out patrols and attending all dwelling burglaries to scope forensic opportunities.

The Be Home Safe home security team are offering support to vulnerable victims. The Neighbourhood Watch also shares information with the local community.

There are steps you can take to help protect your property:

  • Lock up and set the alarm, if you have one, once it gets dark as well as when you go out;
  • Never leave keys in the lock or in sight of the letterbox or windows;
  • Fit a letterbox cage;
  • Keep your car keys safely hidden away;
  • Install security lighting
  • Join Neighbourhood Watch.

If you see someone acting suspiciously and believe they may be planning to break in, call police straight away. If they’re obviously breaking in, ring 999. Otherwise, call the non-emergency number 101: operators are on hand 24/7. Information about recent crimes can also be passed on via this number.

You can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their Anonymous Online Form.

No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court or have to speak to police when contacting Crimestoppers.