OFFICERS are urging residents to 'get the lived-in look' to stop Christmas coming early for burglars.

Cheshire Police is calling on residents to secure their homes this festive season, to make sure any presents don't end up in the wrong hands before Christmas Day.

Supt Peter Crowcroft said: "We’re urging you to remain security conscious and to do everything you can to reduce the risk of being targeted by thieves.

"Take some time to assess your current security measures at home and see if they could be improved.

"It’s very easy, particularly at this time of year when people are very busy, to be distracted and to forget little things such as making sure doors and windows are locked.

"Sadly though, this is also the time of year when houses with valuables in are potentially attractive to the opportunist thief."

Police are asking residents to:

• Consider using a timer to set lights and the radio to come on while out

• Make sure all doors and windows are secure

• Don’t leave valuables including purses, handbags and car keys on display or near external doors

• Don’t leave keys near the door or in view

• Consider security marking valuable items with their house number and postcode using a UV pen, or mark it using property marking kits which consist of a traceable liquid to forensically mark valuables.

David Keane, Cheshire police and crime commissioner, added: "Having your home burgled is a very distressing experience, so for it to happen during the festive period is heart-rending. Please take the advice given to protect your home.

"As a community you can also support officers working over Christmas and New Year by helping them to make the festive season safer for all by making sure you look out for your neighbours and report suspicious activity to police on 101."