WYCOMBE’S top policeman has urged residents to be vigilant following a spate of burglaries in which cars and car keys have been stolen.

Thieves broke into properties in Springfield Road in Stokenchurch, Brunel Road in Downley, Rose Avenue in Hazlemere, Pound Lane in Marlow and Redman Road in Booker on Boxing Day and December 27.

Police said they entered through unlocked doors and pinched keys to cars, which were subsequently stolen from the driveway – the 12th such theft in the district since December 5.

Superintendent Gilbert Houalla is pleading with residents to lock their doors and windows, and ensure keys are kept hidden from view.

He said: “I cannot stress how important it is to make sure that you have double locked your front door, even when you are in the house, or go to bed at night, and hidden your car keys.

“These burglars are targeting expensive cars, most of which cannot be stolen without keys.

“We will investigate every crime to make sure that we arrest, convict and lock up any criminals but I would rather make sure that the crimes didn’t happen in the first place, so please don’t make it easy for them.”

Below are some crime prevention tips issued by Thames Valley Police to help keep your property secure:

1. Double lock your front door with a key, even when you are in the house. It is not sufficient to simply lift the handle.

2. Never leave your keys; - in locks.

- on a window ledge.

- on the kitchen table.

- on a hook behind the door.

3. Keep your keys safe and away from the front door, but easily accessible in case of a fire, and make sure your keys are always in the same place at night-time.

Contact police via the 101 enquiry line or if you do not want to talk to the police, call the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.