Police Scotland have issued advice to the public regarding their household security in the run up to Christmas.

With darkness falling earlier, think about the outer perimeter of the home, which may be the garden or alternatively a common close or stairwell.

Keep your home securely locked at all times. Many thieves are actually opportunists who do not have to break in at all because a door or window has been left open or unlocked.

Don’t leave keys on the inside of door locks, under mats or anywhere else an intruder may easily find them.

Don’t put your name or room number on your keyring if you live in shared accommodation. If it is lost or stolen, the thief will have information that could direct them to your home and your property.

Don’t keep house keys and car keys on the same key ring.

Avoid keeping large amounts of cash in the house. If you must then disperse it in various locations.

Security mark your property with a UV marker pen. You can use this pen to place an invisible imprint of your postcode and house number on your possessions.

Record details of your valuables, such as mobile phone, cameras, laptops and tablets on the national mobile property register at www.immobilise.com. For further advice about protecting valuables and vehicles, visit our Keep Your Valuables Secure, Keep your Car Secure and Keep Your Bike Secure advice.

Don’t leave valuables in sight of windows, particularly around the tree at Christmas time.

If you have a wall calendar, avoid mounting it near a window from where appointments can potentially be seen – this may give an indication of when a property will be empty.

A statement issued on Facebook reads: “At this time of year, many of us will have lots of lovely gifts and other valuable items within our homes, or stored in sheds and garages.

“Please make sure your properties are properly secured when you’re in bed or away from home and remember to ensure outbuildings are also locked up safely.

“Keep any items of value out of sight and away from prying eyes.”