POLICE in the Cotswolds are asking residents to be extra vigilant following a spate of burglaries in the area.

So far this month there have been 26 burglaries at homes in the Cotswolds, compared to 18 for the same period last year.

Many of the recent burglaries have seen jewellery stolen.

Brian Clifford, Inspector for the area, said: “We’re taking action to arrest the offenders involved in these crimes and are running a series of operations in the run up to Christmas to tackle this problem.

“Crime as a whole in the area is down by 10 per cent so far this year but we need local residents to help us keep crime down and reduce the opportunities for thieves to strike by following some simple crime prevention advice.”

Tips to keep homes safe include installing timer switches to make homes look occupied even when it is not, especially in the late afternoons now that it may be dark before residents return from work.

“Most crime prevention measures are just simple common sense but they can make a world of difference,” added Inspector Clifford “When a room is unoccupied make sure all windows and external doors are locked and try not to leave any valuable items on display…even Christmas presents.

"It is also wise to make sure that all garden tools and furniture are put away, and that sheds and garages are secure. Thieves will often use tools taken from insecure outbuildings to try and break into a house.”

Information about the burglaries can be given to Gloucestershire Police by calling 101 or reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.