STRATTON residents have learned more about how to keep their homes secure following a spike in the number of burgularies in the area.

Since July 31 alone there have been seven residential burglaries in Stratton and three in Highworth, considerably more than normal for these areas.

To reassure residents and offer valuable tips and advice for how they can keep their homes safe and secure, Wiltshire Police, in association with Swindon Council and the Bobby Van Trust, held two crime prevention drop-in sessions yesterday to arm members of the public with the information they need to stop them becoming victims of burglary.

The first was held from 10am to 12pm at Grange Leisure Centre and the second was held from 1pm to 3pm at the shops in Beechcroft Road.

Mandi Coles, PCSO in Stratton, Coleview and Upper Stratton, said: “About 30 people came to the morning session. It was all about raising awareness about these crimes and how they can be prevented, just by making sure that the back door is locked and that their windows are secure.

“I am pleased with how many people came along and the response we had.”

Wiltshire Police has said that the cause of the increased levels of crime in these areas might be a result of the warmer weather in recent weeks, which has led to more people leaving their doors and windows open and accidentally giving potential burglars more opportunities to get into their homes.

There have also been several incidents where offenders have used garden furniture to access homes and get into upstairs windows left open.

Jane Dudley, from the Community Safety Partnership, said: “These kinds of crimes are devastating for people and are particularly concerning to elderly and vulnerable people, especially if they live in an area where there has been anti-social behaviour and other crimes for a while.

“Part of these sessions is to give residents advice and help them feel more secure in their own homes.”

Several residents who went along took the opportunity to make arrangements for a visit from the Bobby Van Trust, who can visit homes and give free security checks for residents aged 60 and over and people with disabilities.

Rod Law, from the Bobby Van, said: “We can visit and install anything to help make a house more secure.

“We don’t charge anything for the service, no labour or parts or anything, it’s all free. There is only one thing we charge for and that’s a key safe, if it is installed, because that costs £70.”