Police have warned people not leave presents under Christmas trees for fear of enticing burglars into their homes.

Police in Brighton yesterday tweeted: “Avoid leaving presents under the tree, particularly if they’re visible from windows or doors.”

It is believed that this is the first time officers have directly approached members of the public and suggested doing this.

The news comes as police admit burglaries in Brighton and Hove are on the up with more expected as the big day approaches.

In an email the force sent out via a community scheme it said: “Figures show that there can be an increase in burglaries around the Christmas period, so it is important that you take extra precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.

“In the run-up to the festive season, criminals can be on the lookout for signs of expensive purchases such as visible presents underneath Christmas trees, packaging on display or old electronic goods left outside suggesting new replacements have been bought.

“We have seen an increase in the number of burglaries taking place in Brighton and Hove recently and we are working hard to target prolific offenders.”

Close curtains

Curtains PC Claire Horner told The Argus: “We don’t want people to make their homes and their presents a target.

“I understand that people like putting their presents out underneath the tree but if burglars can see a tree with presents underneath the window it will attract them.

“People should close their curtains if their trees and presents are on view but they might not do this so we are asking them not to put their presents under the tree.

“It’s about preventing burglaries.”

She said as far as she was aware no such burglaries had occurred so far this year.

But a woman who had all her Christmas presents stolen just days before December 25 last year supported PC Horner’s plea.

Victim's anger

She said: “We had just come back from Bruges where we had got presents.

“They were all gift wrapped and under the tree.”

She said after the presents were taken she was “really angry”.

She added: “I was angry that they could come into my home and take them.

“I never thought this could happen to me, in the road I live in.

“It had a huge impact.

“We just called it a day for Christmas that year.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “If you like to display your Christmas tree in your window remember to keep the presents away from prying eyes.

"Just like anyone else, thieves like to window shop before obtaining their goods.”

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