POLICE are trying to ensure everyone has a crime-free Christmas by giving out security tips including not putting presents under the tree too early.

Gillian Stimpson, Burglary Reduction Manager of Thames Valley Police, is suggesting some 'sensible' steps to help people avoid the winter blues over the festive season.

She said: "A few sensible precautions will ensure we all enjoy the festive season. Ensure Father Christmas doesn't arrive early and don't put your presents under the tree too soon.

"Also make sure that when you go out you lock all your doors and windows. Never leave presents or valuables on car seats or in open view, remember, most thieves are opportunists.

"However, if you plan to go away, make sure you let a trusted neighbour know. They can then watch the property while you are gone. Mark your property. It is not only a good deterrent, but should you suffer the misfortune of having your property stolen, it may help the police to identify it and so enable it to be returned."

She said many people forget to be security conscious when rushing round getting presents, and this is when thieves can strike.

Thames Valley Police claim that areas of High Wycombe to have taken part in property marking schemes have seen a huge reduction in burglaries.

More information about property-marking can be obtained from Gillian Stimpson on 01494 686037. Further crime prevention advice can be obtained from the Crime Reduction Officer, PC Steve Kirby on 01494 686111