POLICE are urging people to keep their Christmas presents under wraps from opportunists during the festive season.

Officers working across Warwickshire and West Mercia Police are taking part in Operation Christmas Presence which concentrates one keeping people safe and preventing alcohol-related violence and disorder during the busiest evenings.

But, they are also reminding people of the need to protect their homes, vehicles, shopping and money while out and about during the run up to New Year.

Chief Inspector Helena Bennett, the co-ordinator of the operation, said they were offering out the tips to make sure Christmas could not be spoilt by criminals.

“Christmas is a time to celebrate and have fun but for some, it provides opportunities to take advantage of those who are vulnerable and susceptible to crime,” she said.

“Crime figures have been steadily falling in recent years which is good news. However, certain categories of crime can increase over the Christmas period so we are anxious everyone is security conscious and taking measures to protect themselves.”

When shopping people should park in a well-lit area, make sure windows and doors are closed and locked without purchases left on display, handbags are closed and wallets are in an insider pocket, never leaves bags unattended, keep PIN numbers secret, do not carry large amounts of cash.

Before using a cashpoint check to see if there is anyone suspicious hanging round, check the machine looks normal, shield the PIN number, and put it away safely before leaving the area.

At home keep presents out of view, register new products on immobilise.com, do not keep large amounts of cash at home, secure windows and doors and keep house and car keys out of sight, when out at night make the house look occupied, and dispose of packing carefully as to not advertise purchases.

If the house is going to be left unoccupied at Christmas make sure alarms are activated, trusted neighbours are told, timer switches are used to turn lamps on and off, and cancel any deliveries such as milk and newspapers.

To report a crime that has taken place or something suspicious, call the police on 101.