Lighter evenings make it easier for burglars, analysis suggests

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Home owners are being warned to prepare for a spike in opportunistic thefts as the clocks go forward.

Co-op Insurance's analysis of its claims data found that the number of  thefts when there is no forcible entry to a home jumps by 27% when British Summer Time (BST) starts and people leave windows open and gates and sheds unlocked as the days get warmer and lighter. 

The clocks go forward by one hour on Sunday, March 26.

Co-op compared claims made during the five months before the start of daylight saving time and the five months after to make the findings.

Jonathan Guy, head of claims at the Co-op Insurance said: "What we're seeing during this time is a trend of home owners relaxing their home security and opportunist thieves striking."

Nearly one in 10 (9%) break-ins can happen when a home owner is distracted by thieves posing as builders or engineers to gain access to a property, Co-op's research also found.

Friday is the most common day for break-ins to happen, although a growing number are also taking place on a Monday, it said.

Lynn Farrar, chair of Neighbourhood Watch, said: "These findings from the Co-op Insurance further highlight the need for people to look out for one another.

"With one in 10 break-ins being as a result of home owners being distracted, it's really important that we look out for our vulnerable neighbours. Our advice is if people aren't sure who is at the door, don't open it. Most genuine callers will have a pre-arranged appointment.

"Also if you see a neighbour's home where it seems a window has been left open, a back gate or a shed left unlocked, for example, check on them and let them know."

Here are some home security tips from the Co-op Insurance:

:: Remain vigilant and keep homes secure during the lighter, summer months.

:: Keep windows and doors locked.

:: Check on vulnerable neighbours.

:: Do not post your location on social media platforms.

:: Make sure outbuildings and sheds are locked.

:: Do not leave valuable items on display which could attract opportunistic thieves.

:: Do not leave car keys within reach of a letterbox.