Christmas tree
Christmas  tree
Christmas tree

Keep your Christmas presents and festive food stock securely stored – that’s the message from Safer New Forest.

Residents and businesses in the New Forest are warned they may be targeted by thieves if they store meat, alcohol, other foodstuffs and valuable items in unsecure outbuildings in the busy run-up to Christmas.

The Partnership urges householders and farmers to be vigilant and take steps to lock up their property, particularly vulnerable outbuildings, sheds and garages, from intruders. Motorists should also be aware that car thieves may strike if gifts or other valuables are left in an unattended car.

New Forest Chief Inspector Simon Tribe said: “I would advise businesses and residents alike to protect their property from burglars, especially when valuable goods are left in outdoor buildings which may be easier to access.

“Secure your outbuildings with a good quality padlock and alarm and don’t leave anything of high value on show. This applies to drivers too – take all your valuables with you when you leave your vehicle and check the vehicle is locked.”

To reduce the risk of your premises becoming the target of thieves, the following advice can help improve your security:

  • Keep high-value goods out of sight and locked away. Store your most valuable items inside your main property if possible.
  • Ensure that all outside storage facilities, such as sheds and containers, are locked with a heavy duty secure padlock. Safer New Forest offers a high quality padlock with a built-in alarm for £10, which can be purchased through New Forest District Council information centres.
  • Fit good quality locks on gates and entrances.
  • Improve outdoor security with passive infra-red lights, CCTV and alarms.
  • Report any suspicious activity with descriptions of suspects and vehicles by calling the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
  • Security mark your property and display notices saying your property is security marked. You can register your property for free on
  • Do not leave any valuables or wrapped gifts on visible display near windows in your home. Burglars are looking for Christmas trees with gifts already under them, particularly electronic gifts which have yet to be registered.
  • If you are going out in the evenings or away for a Christmas break, make sure your lights are left on, or fit a device that automatically switches lights on and off to make it appear that someone is home.
  • Finally, don’t announce on social media that you are going out or going away, criminals are keen to discover who is in and who is away from home.

Cllr Jill Cleary, New Forest District Council portfolio holder for housing and communities, said: “At this time of year, businesses, farmers and residents are all preparing for the Christmas period and often storing valuable goods on their property. Thieves are looking for opportunities to break-in, so please take the extra security measures we have suggested to keep them out.”