Police warn of crooks hoping to cash in on Christmas in South Yorkshire

DCI Steve Whittaker who heads up the burglary team at South Yorkshire Police in Sheffield

DCI Steve Whittaker who heads up the burglary team at South Yorkshire Police in Sheffield

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Police chiefs are warning that thieves will be targeting shoppers and burglars will be looking for homes to raid in the run up to Christmas.

Police figures reveal an annual increase in burglaries and thefts in November and December.

The force wants shoppers to be more vigilant and home owners to step up their security in a bid to avoid becoming victims of crime.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker said: “Thieves will often take advantage of busy areas where they know people will be Christmas shopping.

“This time of year often brings with it an increase in pick-pocketing and the theft of purses and wallets from people in shops, towns and city centres.

“Often, people will have gone to the bank to withdraw money to buy gifts.

“We do not want to give thieves the opportunity to take advantage of people who are enjoying the festive season. Be mindful of where your belongings are, be vigilant and ensure you report any incidents to police.”

Superintendent Scott Green added: “Over the festive season, thieves can take advantage of the fact that peoples’ homes will be full of Christmas presents or vacant as they go away for the festive season.

“Any type of burglary is an extremely intrusive crime which is highly traumatic for the victim. Often, items of sentimental value which can never be replaced, including Christmas presents, are taken.

“You can however, protect yourself and your property over the festive season by keeping your windows and doors locked, hiding valuables from view, including house and car keys, and leaving a light on while you are out.”

To report offenders call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.