Dark deeds on dark nights

“When the clocks go back - think ahead. A house that appears to be unoccupied is a temptation to criminals.”

That is the seasonal warning from Tayside Police officers in Angus. It is a message that is not designed to put the frighteners on householders, but one that will hopefully spur them on to making sure there are no unexpected Halloween horror stories of the criminal kind.

Please think about your home security and don’t give the opportunist criminal an open invitation.

British Summer Time ends on October 28 as the clocks go back an hour to herald the onset of longer nights.

Over the winter period, Tayside Police will be increasing their high visibility patrols during the hours of darkness with the aim of preventing crime after dark and encouraging householders to focus on their home security.

Sergeant Fergus Storrier urges people to take notice of the campaign and take simple steps to make their home more secure.

He said: “We do not want there to be any opportunities for criminals to prosper and there is no doubt that simple measures can and do act as effective deterrents. The easiest way to avoid becoming a victim of crime at this time of year is to make sure your property is well lit. Windows, doors and outbuildings should all be properly secured, even when you are at home.

“If you go out in the evening, set timer switches to lights and maybe even the radio to give the impression of an occupied home. Check all external lighting to ensure they are working. With regards to any lock-ups, sheds, garages and outbuildings - all doors, windows, should be properly secured to prevent the opportunistic thief. Tools and ladders should also be locked away to prevent them being in a crime.

“Setting curtains or blinds to try and prevent the opportunistic thief from window shopping is also a must.”

Tayside Police advises householders to security-mark all valuables with their postcode and house number and make a list of their property. Doing so makes it easier to return stolen property to its rightful owner in the event that it is recovered.

Above all, be a good neighbour, particularly if you have older or vulnerable neighbours. Ask them if they require any assistance to make their homes safer and keep an eye out for them, as well as anyone coming to their door. Report any suspicious activity in your area to the police.

In Angus, Safe as Houses is a security initiative to aid victims of crime, the older, disabled and vulnerable members of the community. For further information contact Angus Care & Repair at 01307 463232.

For further advice on security you can contact Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222 and ask to be put through to your local Community Officer.

Anyone with information that they think may be of use should contact Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222 or alternatively Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you see a crime in progress call 999.