Booked your summer holiday? Here's how to keep your house safe while you're away........

Published : 5th August 2016


Warm weather and school holidays, its the perfect time to throw open the doors and windows and let the summer in but it's also an ideal time for burglars to take advantage of our more relaxed attitude to home security.

Whether you are staying at home, booking a holiday or having a weekend away, the peak holiday season is one of the times of the year that our homes are at their most vulnerable. As we relax in the garden or jet off in search of a beach our homes are often left empty and unprotected so don't let down your guard, take just a few home security steps and you'll retain the seasonal feel-good factor.

A study by Co-op insurance showed that more that 13 million households (48 per cent) are committing the most basic security faux pas, which could put their property and their belongings at risks. These include sharing their holiday plans on social media, leaving sheds unlocked and windows open, leaving ladders in the garden or tall items under a window and even hiding keys under a plant pot.

Su Snaith, head of estate agency at The Nottingham, said: "Many of us seem to let our guard down slightly when summer kicks in – with the lighter and warmer evenings and sunny weekends meaning we spend more time outdoors. It just takes an opportunist thief to spot an open window, unlocked garage or act on a social media post to ruin your summer."

"Some simple checks will help to keep your property and garden safe and secure, giving you peace of mind to enjoy yourself with family and friends – whether at home or away."

•Check your doors, windows and patio doors are fully closed and locked before you go to bed.

•If you are in the garden, make sure the windows at the front of the house are closed – it's easy for someone to enter your house unobserved via an insecure window or door.

•If you are planning to go away, ensure all moveable valuables like handbags, laptops and mobile phones are hidden from view and stored in a secure place.

•Use automatic timer-switches to turn on a light and perhaps a radio when it gets dark.

•Don't leave your curtains drawn for the duration of your holiday – it's fine in the evening but during the day it is a giveaway that the house is empty.

•A pile of post hanging out of your letterbox is a clear sign that you are away. Ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your mail.

•Never leave keys anywhere near the front door, in line of sight from your letterbox; burglars know where to look.

•If you have an alarm make sure it is serviced and you have mutual arrangement with a neighbour to hold keys and check the property. False calls are annoying and the genuine one may just get ignored.

•If you are selling your home, ensure you leave a key with your agent.

•Make sure the garden looks cared for and that passers-by can see the front of your home so that a burglar can't work without being spotted.

•Remove and secure items that may be used to break in or climb up such as ladders and garden tools – and don't leave any equipment, like lawnmowers, unattended in your front garden.

•Secure gates and sheds, and fit security lighting on a movement detector.

•Fix garden statues or expensive plants securely in place.

•Never leave your garage door open for others to view the contents – even for just a short time. They may make a mental note of what is in there and return later.

•Fit an alarm or heavy-duty lock to the garage.

•Make a note of model and series numbers of any bikes or tools stored in garages or sheds.

Finally, check your home contents insurance policy – you may have bought new garden furniture, laptop or cycles since it was last renewed.