Many thieves will take files of bank statements and bills, which contain crucial data they can sell online. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Going away for the school holidays? Ensure your home is not an invitation to unwanted guests.

LOCK YOUR DOORS

Make sure you double-lock your front door – an intruder can open a Yale lock in seconds. Don’t leave keys or any valuables in reach of cat flaps or in your porch.

HIDE ALL THE BILLS

Many thieves will take files of bank statements and bills, which contain crucial data they can sell on or use to commit identity fraud. These should be locked away as safely as your priciest jewellery.

Don’t hide anything in boxes at the bottom of the wardrobe or under mattresses – these are the first places that a burglar checks.

DON’T SHOW OFF

It is a temptation many of us can’t resist – posting a Facebook update about our just-booked holiday to somewhere exotic.

But telling the world your house will be empty for two weeks is not the best idea.

Other vital information could be hanging in view of burglars on a recce – such as a calendar with holiday dates written in.

TURN LIGHTS ON

Several gadgets can help thwart would-be burglars.

A basic time switch can activate lights, radios or TVs (just make sure no one can see it from a window, otherwise it will be worse than useless).

Cocoon detects unusual sounds or movements and sends a message to your phone, from which you can view a live feed via the device’s camera and even activate a 90-decibel siren.

For a cheaper alternative, the Manything app (Apple and Android) can make use of any old smartphone, turning it into a home video monitoring camera.