Police in Limavady and Magherafelt have offered some seasonal advice for personal and home security this Christmas.
Sheila Henderson, the Crime Prevention Officer, said: “Christmas is a very busy time for many people who will be out looking for gifts for their families and friends and we want you to keep everything safe.
It is also important to look out for your possessions when out shopping.
“Try to avoid carrying large amounts in cash; most shops will accept debit and credit cards. Don’t allow anyone to see the PIN code you use, and never write it down.
“You should also plan your shopping. Avoid loading the back seat of your car until you are ready to drive home. If you really need to leave gifts in a car while you continue shopping, use the boot.
“When you get home, keep your presents safe. Everyone likes to see Christmas presents around a tree, but make sure that no one can see them from outside.
It is important to ensure you always lock your doors and windows at night and at any time you are away from home to secure those high value items you may have at Christmas.
The police also offered some advice for traders
Shops are expecting an increase in business in the run up to Christmas and we are asking traders to take stock of how they handle cash.
* Reduce the amount of money you have in your tills regularly and make sure you transfer it to a safe.
* Take money to your bank frequently, but at irregular intervals so as not to create a pattern. Consider the use of cash-in –transit services.
* Do not leave large sums of money on the premises overnight and never allow outsiders know who your keyholders are.
Be on the alert for counterfeit currency - take a few seconds to check notes.
Vigilance is vital at this time of year to thwart the crooks. You work hard for your money; don’t make it easy for them to steal it.