POLICE in Skipton are urging people to make sure their homes and businesses are secure following a spate of burglaries in Craven.

There have been several burglaries in recent weeks, particularly in North Craven and in Upper Wharfedale with both businesses and residential properties targeted.

Police say now is a good time for property owners to review their security as evenings get darker following last weekend’s clock change.

Sergeant Paul Evans, of Skipton Police, said: “While Craven continues to be a very safe area to live and work, we don’t want residents getting complacent about home security.

“A dark, empty house is a target for burglars, so to help prevent becoming a victim, there are a number of security measures residents can consider.”

He added: “Criminals want to be in and out as quickly as possible, they want to go about unnoticed so any extra security measure they must try and get through will slow them down and possibly deter them from carrying out their intended crime.

“We have several rural watch schemes in Craven which involves officers working alongside volunteers, the work these schemes do plays a major part in helping look out for any suspicious activity in the area.

“By living and working in their communities the volunteers know them best and are proving to be the eyes and the ears when suspicious activity occurs.”

The neighbourhood policing team will be carrying out high visibility patrols across the area in the coming weeks and will be aiming to get the rural task force team to Craven to help out in ‘hotspot’ locations.

“By continuing to work together we are confident that Craven will remain one of the safest areas to live and work in the country,” said Sgt Evans.

Security measures to be considered include leaving a light, lights, radio or plug-in timer switch to give the impression that someone is at home. Outdoor lights can also help deter would-be criminals, and so either motion-activated lights, or timer switch are good measures to take.

Other measures to consider are:

* Lighting around any sheds or outbuildings you may have

* Using Laser beam sensors across driveways, outbuilding doors, or gateways.

* Even when you are in the house, ensure you lock your doors and if you’re only popping next door for five minutes, still lock the doors.

* Ensure any vehicles are locked, remove valuables, and remove keys, if your vehicle is keyless, consider a steering wheel lock to slow down car thieves.

* If you have an alarm fitted at your property, use it. It is surprising how many properties have alarms fitted but they are never set.

* Once it gets dark outside, consider closing curtains or blinds, don’t advertise your property and possessions.

Residents can keep up to date about policing in their area by signing up to the community messaging email service at:www.northyorkshirecommunitymessaging.co.uk. More crime prevention advice is available on the North Yorkshire Police website.