A CAMPAIGN has been launched to ensure people in Swindon win the fight against burglars.

Wiltshire Police have sought to tackle the town’s higher than average burglary rate by issuing security advice to residents.

The campaign, which runs until Sunday, aims to educate people about the simple precautions that can be taken to protect their homes.

Detective Superintendent Sarah Robbins, the head of county crime at Wiltshire Police, said: “After a recent evaluation into our burglary processes it became apparent that this was an issue that needed to improve.

“What we are seeing in Swindon is a disproportionate amount of burglaries carried out by 16 and 17-year-olds, and usually all the same people.

“People might have this image in mind of burglars being older, but that’s not really the case.”

During the summer, police acknowledged that it was a concerning time for the town due to a spike in burglaries.

The number of house burglaries in Wiltshire has soared by 46 per cent in the past year.

The increase is 34 per cent above the average for the south west and 25 per cent above the overall figure for England.

In response to this, police have advised people to lock their doors and windows every time they leave the house, even if they are just in the garden, and to make sure they have approved locks or bolts on all doors and windows.

And they say you should never leave a spare key in a hiding place like in a plant pot or letterbox, as a thief knows all the hiding places.

DS Robbins said: “In Swindon, we are trying to clamp down on the teenagers who are carrying out these random burglaries, but also the organised gangs who target specific properties looking for high-value goods.

“We have recognised and accepted these issues and are now pro-actively putting into practice the recommendations made.

“We have introduced the Community Tasking Team – a resource dedicated not only to tackling burglary, but all priority crimes.

“CTT’s main focus at the moment is improving our dwelling burglary processes and clamping down on offenders.”

People are also advised to keep all keys, purses and wallets out of sight and away from the letterbox and to make sure they have up to date contents insurance.

Other advice includes installing a burglar alarm, not opening the door to anyone you don’t know or are not expecting, and trimming back any plants and hedges at the front of your property to no higher than one metre to remove hiding places.

DS Robbins said: “Do not keep large amounts of cash at home - it is much safer in a bank or building society.

“Always report any suspicious activity, note any vehicle registrations, descriptions of persons involved and direction of travel, and take photographs of all jewellery, including hallmarks, and keep them safe.

“If you see anything or anyone suspicious in your neighbourhood, unknown or unexpected doorstep traders, or unusual vehicles, please report it to us via 101.”

Kingshill resident John Olding, 68, recently urged police to act after a cluster of burglaries in his area.