Croydon police have warned residents to take care to stop thieves ruining Christmas.

A police spokesman said: “Criminals take opportunities afforded to them by the extra shopping we do, the hustle and bustle of Croydon as we rush around, and the value of the goods we buy as presents and store in our homes until the big day.

“While out shopping be aware of pickpockets and thieves, carry your handbag in front of you so sticky fingers can’t get into it.

“When out and about Christmas shopping, leave carrier bags with gifts in secure and out of site in your car but make sure you stay vigilant, thieves may well watch car parks for a chance to break into them.

“When at home make sure you wait until Christmas Day before putting presents around your tree, they can make a tempting display for a burglar.

“Burglars like an easy life and it’s not just Christmas cards that come through your letterbox so fit a letterbox hood.

“Burglars can force some sash windows, especially old ones without key operated locks. A good way to reduce the risk is by fixing a window box planter to the window ledge and fitting proper window locks.

“Don't highlight the fact that you have gifts and presents to criminals by openly displaying the empty packaging outside by your bins.

“Property mark your new presents such as televisions, mobile phones and sat nav's and register them on

“Registering your possessions on the immobilise website increases your chances of being reunited with them should they be lost or stolen and come to the notice of the police.

“If you are going out, lock all your doors and windows even if you are going out for only a short time. If returning home by taxi make sure it is licensed or take a black cab to be doubly sure.

“If someone is appointed as the designated driver for the evening make sure they only drink soft drinks.

“Take care when driving the morning after you have been drinking as alcohol may still be in your system and you may be over the limit. Likewise, be careful about drinking at lunchtime.”

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