WITH Christmas just days away and presents already stocking up beneath the trees, now is the time to make sure you know how to protect your valuables, say police.

Inspector Emma Burroughs from Thames Valley Police said: "If it is expensive, it is desirable, so get it marked".

Free property marking kits are available from your Neighbourhood Police teams (while stocks last).

Effectively marking your property is a crucial part of preventing theft. Marking deters thieves as they are unable to sell on marked property, and are exposed to a much greater risk when caught with your items. For a property marking kit call your Neighbourhood Team on 101 or contact the Community Safety team on 01895 837200.

South Bucks District Councillor Anita Cranmer said: "I would like to encourage residents to make use of property marking over the Christmas period and in the New Year.

"I would recommend using permanent UV pens or forensic property marking kits such as SelectaDNA or Smartwater, so your belongings can be easily identified. Thieves will also be deterred from stealing items which have been marked. Don’t let a burglar enjoy Christmas at your expense."

Here are some beneficial tips that you may also want to consider:

• Dispose of gift packaging carefully - Discarded packaging advertises all the new goods you have indoors.

• Away over Christmas? Plan ahead - Asking a neighbour to park in your driveway will help create the impression that someone is home.

• Invest in sensor flood lights.

• Secure garages and sheds.

• Use a light timer switch to create the impression that someone is in the house.

• Register bike frame numbers, mobile phone IMEI numbers and other identifying details on Immobilise, the free, national property registration scheme.