Local residents are asked not to leave empty boxes outside their homes this Christmas, as doing so advertises to burglars what new gifts are inside.

Instead, residents are advised to keep all packaging stored in a safe place until the next refuse collection.   Householders can also register online valuable gifts such as tablet computers and smartphones so there is a better chance of them being returned if lost or stolen.

By registering them for free at www.immobilise.com, owners can put details of their possessions on a database which can be compared against items that have been found or recovered from suspected criminals.

Downloading free GPS-enabled applications (apps) on smartphones and tablet computers is another way of increasing the chances of retrieving them.

If a device is ever lost or stolen, the app allows the owner to track its movements by entering their password into another web-enabled computer, tablet or smartphone.

It can be used to lock devices or delete sensitive data remotely too.

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