A new campaign to prevent burglars targeting people's homes in the winter months has been launched by police. 

High visibility patrols in vulnerable areas have been increased as part of Operation Grotto, which aims to reduce the number of burglaries that happen at this time of year. 

A number of automatic number plate recognition operations are also being held to provide reassurance to the public. 

While police are working to deter and prosecute burglars, they are still calling on residents to help protect their own homes by locking their doors and windows before going out and to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity. 

If fitted, set alarms and invest in a timer switch to come on to make homes look occupied when people are out.

Sergeant Robin Hughes, of the neighbourhood policing team, based at Marlow, said “The team have already organised a "Houses in darkness" initiative in which the Neighbourhood Policing Team went door to door in Marlow with Police Cadets and handed out 100 free timer light switches and provided burglary prevention advice.

"This was a great success with an enthusiastic response from the public. It was an excellent opportunity for the cadets to provide a valuable service and engage with members of the community, we will be covering more dark streets in the following weeks.”

Officers from High Wycombe police station are also offering a free timer light switch to the first 250 people who contact them and who live within Wycombe and surrounding area. 

To request your free timer switch, send your name and address to timerswitch@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk.