Thirteen percent also confessed they had gone away while they were meant to be house-watching, without telling their neighbours. Picture: Pixabay

London - It's how many of us ensure we can relax on holiday – we ask a neighbour to keep an eye on our home and feed the pets while we’re away - secure in the thought that someone is looking after abode.

But it may not be so wise to hand over the house keys – because a quarter of house watchers admit in new research that they don’t bother checking the property even once.

Thirteen percent also confessed they had gone away while they were meant to be house-watching, without telling their neighbours.

And almost four in 10 reported something went wrong, ranging from the alarm sounding to more major problems. The survey of 1 600 Britons found 65% had looked after a neighbour’s house. Six out of 10 had never had a problem.

But of those who had difficulties, 15% confessed to killing plants by accident and 10% said they had forgotten to feed pets.

One in 10 who experienced problems said a pet had died while they were looking after it, while a similar number said a neighbour’s home had been burgled.

In the survey, for Yale, 68% of people nevertheless insisted they were good friends with a neighbour.

The study of more than 2 000 people was commissioned by the Yorkshire Building Society Trust.

Its chief executive Chris Pilling said: "The UK has always been very proud of its community spirit but it seems neighbourliness is not as  prevalent as we might think. We believe trust is essential."

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