Leaflets are being distributed throughout Wirral this week warning householders to take steps to prevent Christmas crime.

Launching “Operation Dark House” this winter, officers from Merseyside Police and Wirral Council insisted that on many occasions becoming a victim is avoidable.

Police say there have been several recent burglaries where uPVC doors were not locked properly.

Chief Inspector Nick Gunatilleke said: "Burglars can easily tell which uPVC doors are locked and will move onto others that are not.

“Even when you're at home, it's important to lock your doors - burglars could be in and out with your property in seconds if you give them the opportunity."

Councillor George Davies, Wirral Council cabinet member for housing and community safety, said: "Christmas is a time when people will have some expensive items at home that they have either received, or plan to give, as gifts.

“Having these stolen could really ruin your Christmas but also, if a burglary happens as a result of your door not being properly locked, it might also invalidate your household insurance."

Leaflets are being delivered to residents across the borough detailing precautions people should take.

Making your home look occupied is also a big deterrent to burglars, so residents will be advised to use automatic timer-switches to turn lights on and off, arrange for trusted friends or neighbours to come and open and close curtains.

A plug-in timer for the radio would make it sound as if someone was home; tune the radio to a station that has more talking than music.

Storing bins and ladders away carefully is also recommended so that they can't easily be used as climbing aids, while keeping tools and equipment tidied away will also prevent an opportunist burglar using them to break into your home.

Chief Insp Gunatilleke added: "By applying a few common sense precautions which are described in the leaflet, you can stop yourself becoming a victim of crime and ensure that this Christmas will be both a happy and safe one."