YOU'D better watch out, you'd better not...commit crime.

Wiltshire Police is to launch Operation Elf next week in the west Wiltshire area.

It will see police officers, PCSOs and Special Constables conducting high visibility patrols in Warminster, Westbury and Mere over the festive period in a bid to keep communities safe.

It gets underway on Tuesday and runs until New Year's Eve.

Sgt Kevin Harmsworth said: "Similar Christmas operations have been run across Swindon and others areas of Wiltshire in the past and these have seen a noticeable reduction in crime as a result and I am hoping this will translate to our area.

"We know these towns will be particularly busy in the run up to the big day and as well as providing a reassuring presence, we also hope we will act as a deterrent to anyone considering committing crime such as anti-social behaviour and theft in these areas."

"Officers will share intelligence and any other relevant information which will be disseminated to local businesses and shops.

"During Op Elf we'll be asking local businesses and town centre CCTV operators to be on the lookout for suspicious people, vehicles or suspicious activity.

"The more eyes and ears we have looking out for, and reporting crime, the better. We'd also urge the public to be vigilant and to report any concerns to us on 101 or 999 in an emergency."

Tips to avoid becoming a victim of crime when you are out and about during the Christmas period:

• When out shopping, keep your purse and handbag with you; don't leave it in your trolley or unattended;

• Keep any cash you may have on you to a minimum;

• Mobile phones and wallets in back pockets are a target - keep secure and out of sight;

• Be careful at cash machines and when paying by card - shield your PIN at all times.

With more shoppers about, there are inevitably more vehicles in car parks, offering more opportunities for criminals.

Don't let your vehicle be an easy target:

• Don't leave Christmas presents or valuables like laptops, mobile phones, handbags, credit cards or cheque books in your car. If unavoidable - put them in the boot and ensure equipment is completely switched off;

• Remove SatNavs, clean away suction marks on windows and make sure car doors, windows and sun roofs are all properly closed and locked;

• Leave absolutely nothing on show - you may know that there is no wallet in your jacket, but a thief will break a window just to check;

• If you own a van, remove tools overnight and display an appropriate sign in the rear window making this clear.

If you are a victim of crime or want to report suspicious behaviour to police please call 999 or the non-emergency number on 101.

Alternatively, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.