'Don't give thieves a Christmas present' call

Householders were warned yesterday to beware of burglars sneaking around the living room at Christmas.

Some 70,600 homes will be raided for their stashes of presents over the festive season, according to research by More Th>n Home Insurance.

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The data, based on interviews with reformed ex-burglars, also pinpoints the time over the Christmas period when the common house thief is most likely to strike: during a 23-minute window between 1.55am and 2.18am on Christmas Day.

Some 84 per cent of ex-crooks say opportunities to steal increase greatly over the Christmas period.

This is caused by people over-indulging on alcohol and being less vigilant with home security; a nave and trusting festive spirit; and extended trips to family and friends resulting in houses left empty.