RESIDENTS are being urged to remain vigilant following a spate of burglaries in Cheshire.

Offenders have been burning the locks on patio and back doors of homes in order to enter the property and steal the keys to cars parked outside.

The keys are then used to steal vehicles parked outside.

There has been a recent spate in Wilmslow.

Chief Inspector David Moores said: “Following the recent spate of burglaries we are stepping up patrols and ensuring that there is a visible police presence on our streets.

“I would like to reassure residents that we are doing all we can to apprehend those responsible. There are a number of proactive investigative enquiries underway.

“While we are doing our upmost to stop these offences and apprehend the offenders, my ask to the local community and residents is to follow advice on how to best protect your home and vehicles.”

Here are some useful steps that residents can take to reduce the chances of vehicles being stolen:

Make sure that your vehicle is locked whenever you are not in it and that you have not left any doors, windows or the sunroof open.

Lock gates to deter offenders getting to the rear of your property.

Where feasible install CCTV.

If you have electronic car keys, keep them in a security pouch when you are not using them to prevent them from being scanned by thieves to open and steal your vehicle nearby

If your keyless entry fob can be turned off, and your dealer can confirm this, then do so overnight

Electronic devices can be used to jam the electronic signal from your key fob to lock your car – always manually check your vehicle has locked before walking away, and if you are unsure you should lock it manually and then scan the immediate area for anyone hanging around

Fitting a Sold Secure steering wheel, gear lever or clutch pedal security device can give your vehicle added protection and deter thieves

Many modern vehicles are fitted with engine management diagnostic ports, which can be accessed without a thief needing to open the vehicle doors, boot or bonnet, but which can unlock and start your car. If your vehicle has this type of port, consider fitting a lockable cover.

CI Moores added: “If you see any suspicious activity report it to us so that we can investigate further.

“Any piece of information no matter how big or small could help us catch those responsible and bring them to justice.

“I would urge anyone with information in relation to the recent car and key burglaries to contact Cheshire Police on 101.”

Information can also be reported to Cheshire Police online via the Cheshire Police website.

Alternatively, information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or via the Crimestoppers website.